Dear Abby: Grieving partner struggles with more loss

Dear Abby: We were a male couple in our 70s, together for 21 years, before my husband, “Charles,” died of COPD three weeks ago. For more than four years, I watched his health and quality of life decline until he finally had had enough and chose hospice. In less than 24 hours, he was gone.

He chose his way out, and for his sake, I’m thankful, but the pain I’m feeling is incredible. Each person grieves in their own way in their own time, and my friends and family have been amazing. I know Charles would want me to live my best life, and to honor him, which is exactly what I plan to do. The amount of paper and legal work is suffocating, but we are all getting through it.

During this time, I had expected to lean on our precious dog for comfort, but now he also will be taken from me. The vet just diagnosed him with liver cancer, and he has maybe four months to live. I’m numb and feel like a stranger in my own body. I know I’m strong enough to grieve them both, but at the same time, I am scared to death of being single again (note I didn’t say alone, because I am not). Please give me some guidance. — Totally Lost Right Now

Dear Totally Lost: I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. That your dog you were depending upon for support through this difficult time is now terminally ill has only added to your pain. It’s understandable that you feel disoriented and numb. You WILL 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 settle because it will help you stay busy and, for short periods of time, will keep you focused on something other than the ache you are feeling. Do NOT jump into a new romance because you are afraid of being single! You will make your way through this by being patient with yourself and allowing your friends to step up until you are strong enough to stand by yourself. If you need extra support, ask your doctor to refer you to a grief support group.

Dear Abby: My fiancee and I are about to get married in another state. I have lived in multiple states over the years and have friends and family in some of them. Some of these people aren’t able to attend the wedding. We understand their reasons and have offered a livestream as an alternative.

We are now being asked to host additional wedding receptions in other states, and we’re getting a lot of pressure about it. We have no desire to have additional wedding receptions with all the planning and expense that goes along with them. What’s a polite way to respond to these friends and family members? — Not Interested in Florida

Dear Not Interested: Thank these friends and relatives for the suggestion and explain that although it’s a nice idea, it isn’t within your budget. That’s the truth. Then encourage them to come and visit when time permits.

TO MY MUSLIM READERS: At sundown, it is time for the breaking of 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 

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