DEAR ABBY: A lifelong friend of mine has died unexpectedly. Because he was my age, this brought up issues of my own mortality. We’d had our ups and downs over 25 years, but he moved cross-country to the same city as I’m in and was there for many happy and sad life events, including the deaths of my remaining immediate family and his parents.
I have a wonderful wife and amazing children. We are pretty active and have stressful jobs, so there is little time to be engaged, which leaves me feeling guilty about being less than 100 percent for her and the kids. We have a newborn, and he is a star among stars for me, so I feel even more need to be present at all times.
My friend’s death has brought up painful feelings I thought I was over – like the feeling of being an “orphan” (even though I have extended family, I have no immediate family left). Losing someone my age has hit me hard, which I honestly didn’t anticipate. I know I’m focusing on the wrong things, like some missed opportunities, but I can’t seem to move past them. I feel so drained and useless. Any help would be appreciated. – Missing a Friend in Las Vegas
DEAR MISSING: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your good friend. The death of someone close can affect people in many different ways. For some, the reminder that life isn’t infinite can trigger them to re-evaluate their relationships or how they have been living their lives.
Because you seem to be unable to move past your feelings of abandonment, which many people experience after the loss of their parents, consider joining a grief support group to help you to work through some of these thoughts you are experiencing. However, if that isn’t enough, a licensed therapist may help you to regain your balance.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter’s significant other fathered her two children and seemed dedicated to his family. He worked hard to support and care for them. Then, almost overnight, it all changed.
My daughter is now a single (unemployed) mom with two little ones under 4. She needs help, and I need advice about how to best help her. It appears they’ll need to move in with us (an arrangement that will be stressful for all). Life is a bowl of lemons, and I need a good recipe for lemonade. Help, please! – Ready to Pitch in
DEAR READY: This would be my recipe: The first thing you adults should do is remind yourselves that this won’t be forever – only until your daughter is able to find a job, get back on her feet and the children are in day care. Repeat it to yourselves out loud when necessary, and it may help you retain your sanity when life becomes stressful.
Next, help your daughter ensure that the children’s father continues to provide financially for them. If he is resistant, an attorney may be able to help, and so can government agencies in every state.
And last, give the new additions to your household all the love and understanding you can – which I am sure you are already doing because you seem like a very nice person. This, too, will pass.