DEAR ABBY: I have two wonderful children (28 and 30). Both are married and have great spouses.
Ever since I was a girl, I have dreamed of being a mother and a grandmother. My heartbreak is that neither of my children wants kids. Every time I hear that my sister or brother is becoming a grandparent again, my heart aches so bad I sit down and cry.
My husband says I need to accept it and move on. I have tried, but I'm so depressed right now I don't know what to do. I'm thankful my children found their soulmates and are doing very well. I just don't know how to get past this missing part of me. — UNHAPPY IN COLORADO
DEAR UNHAPPY: Have you considered going online and researching volunteer opportunities to work with children or teens? While they wouldn't be related to you, it would give you an opportunity to make a significant difference in a child's life.
One organization that comes to mind is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which would give you the chance to be a mentor. Another program you might enjoy is Foster Grandparents, which is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Or call the hospitals in your area and ask if they need someone to come in on a regular basis to hold and rock premature infants and newborns. If you contact CASA for Children (casaforchildren.org), you could become a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children and teens, which may provide the emotional satisfaction you need.
I hope my suggestions will help you. However, if they don't, then you must accept that plans we make for ourselves when we are young don't always work out as we wish they would, and let them go.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for more than 30 years. It has been a very lonely marriage. I raised the kids alone while he worked and volunteered at the church and teen club.
I spent the first 10 years of our marriage nagging him to spend time with me and the kids, but he was always too busy "doing good." I tried a couple of times to participate in his life by camping with him and the teens, but the girls gossiping until 1 a.m. and the boys stick sword fighting at 5 a.m. left me exhausted and irritable. Plus, it didn't accomplish anything because he didn't spend any time with me and the kids, anyway. I finally gave up nagging and just concentrated on raising our three kids.
Our kids are now grown, although one still lives at home and attends college. I feel stuck because I don't have biblical grounds for divorce. I'm only 50, so I'm looking at 30 more years of loneliness.
A couple of years ago, I found a really fun sport — scuba diving. I've made some great friends, but this isn't something I'll be able to do for the next 30 years. Do you have any suggestions? — LONELY IN THE WEST
DEAR LONELY: Not knowing to which religious denomination you belong, the best advice I can offer is for you to talk to your clergyperson about possible grounds for divorce within your religion. That you have been effectively emotionally deserted for decades by your husband might qualify. You have my sympathy.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.