Dear Annie: My mom passed away three years ago, and it’s still hard on me. I am 42 years old. Am I too old to cry? And should I be over her by now?
— Missing Mom
Dear Missing Mom: Two resounding nos. You are never too old to cry, and there’s no getting “over” a huge loss like the loss of your mother. There’s just learning to live with the grief. I came across this quote recently that I have to share:
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was. ... You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on. ... Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. ... After a while ... you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. ... In between, you can breathe; you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything. ... But in between waves, there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. ... and you can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. ... When it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out. Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”
— G. Snow
Dear Annie: I’m a 72-year-old man, my lady friend is 71. My problem is that she has two adult sons who are still being treated like 10-year-old boys by their mother and two aunts. They’re both in their 50s. Neither one of these guys will keep a job but a few months. Both are convicted felons. I love their mother, but she lets them use her. We have talked about it, and she agrees with me that she should stop. But she just can’t seem to let them make it for themselves. I bought her a car, and now she’s taking them back and forth to work. I say let them get a ride on their own. I could go on and on, but what I want to know is, should I leave? Her health is not that good, and I don’t want to hurt her. But I’m fed up with these boys using her. — Can’t Watch
Dear Can’t Watch: She and her sisters have been babying these overgrown boys for 50 years. It’s unlikely to stop now. So it’s really a question of if you can make peace with that. Try relinquishing any idea of control over the situation and focusing on yourself and not what your girlfriend or her sons “should be doing.” But at the end of the day, if you find the situation too irritating, it might be time to remove yourself from it.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.