DEAR ABBY: We were a 70-year-old male couple, together for 21 years, before my husband, “Charles,” died of COPD three weeks ago. For over four years, I watched his health and quality of life worsen until he finally gave up and chose hospice. In less than 24 hours, he was gone.
He chose his way out, and for his sake, I’m grateful, but the pain I feel is unbelievable. Each person grieves in their own way at their own time, and my friends and family have been amazing. I know that Charles would want me to live my best life and honor him, which is exactly what I plan to do. The amount of paperwork and legal paperwork is overwhelming, but we are all getting through it.
During this time, I expected to lean on our precious dog for comfort, but now he too will be taken from me. The vet just diagnosed him with liver cancer and he may have four months to live. I’m numb and feel like a stranger in my own body. I know I’m strong enough to make them both suffer, but at the same time, I’m scared to be single again (note that I didn’t say single, because I’m not). Please give me some guidance. — TOTALLY LOST AT THIS MOMENT
DEAR TOTALLY LOST: I am very sorry for the loss of your husband. The fact that her dog, whom she relied on for support during this difficult time, is now terminally ill has only added to her grief. It is understandable that you feel disoriented and numb. You willpower work your way through this. The passage of time helps.
That you are not alone now is a blessing. Be glad you have the estate to liquidate because it will help keep you busy and, for short periods of time, keep you focused on something other than the pain you’re in. DO NOT jump into a new romance because you are afraid of being single! You will get through this by being patient with yourself and allowing your friends to step up until you are strong enough to stand on your own. If you need additional support, ask your doctor for a referral to a grief support group.
DEAR ABBY: My fiancée and I are about to get married in another state. I have lived in several states over the years and have friends and family in some of them. Some of these people cannot attend the wedding. We understand your reasons and have offered a live stream as an alternative.
Now we’re being asked to host additional wedding receptions in other states, and we’re getting a lot of pressure about it. We do not want to have additional wedding receptions with all the planning and expense that goes with it. What is a polite way to respond to these friends and family? — NOT INTERESTED IN FLORIDA
DEAR NOT INTERESTED: Thank these friends and family for the suggestion, and explain that while it’s a good idea, it’s not within your budget. That’s the truth. Then encourage them to come and visit when time permits.
TO MY MUSLIM READERS: At sunset, it is time to break the Ramadan fast. Happy Eid al-Fitr everyone. — LOVE, ABBY
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.