DEAR ABBY: Ten years ago, my friend "Maureen" suffered a breakup that emotionally and financially devastated her and moved in with her son and his young family. Since then, she has recovered in both areas.
Maureen inserts herself into every aspect of their lives — vacations, entertaining, etc. When they go out to eat, she always joins them. Her daughter-in-law, "Eve," has routinely given her hints that it's time to move on. Maureen then goes to her son and tells him what Eve said, and it causes problems in their marriage. After dinner each night, Eve goes into her room, closes the door and stays there.
Maureen is capable of living on her own, but she said she might get lonely and that's why she won't leave. The grandkids are pretty much grown now, and there's no need for Maureen to stay. Her friends have been encouraging her to make a life of her own. Eve and her husband plan to move out of state in 10 years, and Maureen plans on moving with them. I think she is putting her son's marriage at risk for her own selfish reason. Maureen isn't old and infirm. She could possibly meet a nice gentleman if she moved out. All her friends have suggested this. What are your thoughts? — BYSTANDER IN FLORIDA
DEAR BYSTANDER: If Maureen were unwell or destitute, the situation would be different. She is neither. My thoughts are that until Eve is angry enough to assert herself and tell her husband the current living conditions are intolerable, nothing will change.
DEAR ABBY: I recently had to say goodbye to my precious dog, Wendy Darling. She was a sweet old girl with bad kidneys and severe joint pain. During the last few weeks of her life, she could barely eat, and not at all in the last days. I know in my head that ending her suffering was the right thing to do. I have supported friends and family who helped their pets this way.
It's my heart that is having trouble. I keep thinking that I didn't have the right to make that decision; that life is too precious to deliberately steal even a single day. While her body was declining, her mind and spirit danced, and she looked at me with complete trust. I miss her so much and find myself crying throughout the day. Can you tell me how to reconcile my head and my heart? I have this huge weight on my chest and more than a little bit of guilt. — MISSING WENDY IN OREGON
DEAR MISSING WENDY: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your precious canine companion. You gave Wendy Darling a wonderful life, filled with love. Dogs were meant to run and play, to love and be loved, not to suffer. I am sure you miss her, but please stop beating yourself up for making a rational decision about what was best for her. If your grief continues to overwhelm you, talk with your veterinarian about joining a grief support group. I am sure he or she will reassure you. Your loss is recent. That you are emotional is understandable. Tears are healing.
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.
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