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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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She needs time, help with grief

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar The Spokesman-Review

Dear Annie: I have been married to a wonderful guy for six years, and I love him very much. The problem is, “Dean” has two children. My daughter died a tragic death last year, and since then, I have not wanted to be around kids or take care of my stepchildren. Everything agitates me, and I just want to leave and start a new life.

Dean is the greatest guy in this world and treats me like a queen. I try to keep this all inside, but I know my coldness and lack of interest shows. My heart says to move out and start over, but I know my sadness will never end and I would miss Dean too much. On the other hand, if I stay, I am in extreme misery day after day, and no one deserves to be around me. I went to counseling, but it didn’t help.

What should I do? – Torn in Michigan

Dear Torn: This has very little to do with Dean’s children and everything to do with your grief. You are terribly depressed. Counseling after such a tremendous loss takes time, and sometimes medication, in order for you to believe you can experience happiness again. Explain to Dean that your resentment of his children will pass in time, but you don’t want them to suffer because of it. Dean should take over the majority of child-related activities, and the children can be told that you are trying your best to deal with your grief and your behavior is not their fault. Meanwhile, contact The Compassionate Friends (, an organization for parents whose children have died. The toll-free number is (877) 969-0010.

Dear Annie: Yesterday, I received a gift from my daughter, who is a darling. I looked it up on the Web site where she bought it and saw that she paid $45 plus shipping. It’s described accurately enough as a little ceramic holder with tulip bulbs that are supposed to bloom if I water them correctly. But I could have made the identical item myself for $3.

I hate to tell her how cheap it looks, because I don’t want her to feel bad, but I don’t want her to get ripped off, either. I e-mailed the company, and they sent an automated reply. What would you do? – Florida Mom

Dear Florida Mom: You can take a picture of yourself next to the planter and send it to your daughter with your thanks. That way, if it’s not what she ordered, she can complain to the florist. Otherwise, we must assume your daughter knew what she was buying. Be sure to water it.

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