Dear Annie: I have been reading your column in my local newspaper for a long time. Earlier this year, I sent a note to you about losing my wife and how my friends reacted. Never would I have thought that I would be sending you another note. But here I am.
As I said, I lost the woman who was the center of my universe for 60 years earlier this year. Later in the year, I lost, due to illness, a large part of my hearing, which left me almost unable to communicate with family and friends except through written messages. I became very isolated.
Before Christmas, I had been invited by both of my children to their houses for Christmas. My plan was to attend Sunday service and then go to my daughter’s and then to my son’s later that day. Things changed. I woke up psychologically and physically exhausted. I sent a note to my kids and told them the situation and that I was going to spend Christmas by myself. They both replied that I should rest. Well, at 3 in the afternoon, while I was at the kitchen table, my granddaughter’s small dog came out of nowhere and started jumping all over me. He was followed by her and her folks. Just like that, my Christmas was great, thanks to my angelic wife who taught our children how to help people. Later that day, my son showed up with dinner for me. What I thought was going to be a lonely day turned out to be one the best of my life. I am truly blessed. — Grateful
Dear Grateful: Thank you for sharing such an uplifting story. It is clear that your beloved wife lives on through your children and grandchildren. I hope that 2023 brings you many beautiful new memories with them.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Drowning in My Daughter’s Death,” from the woman who lost her daughter to breast cancer recently and who’s deep in the throes of mourning, was spot on about recommending a grief support group. About 12 years ago, my then-fiance got sick suddenly and died. I was devastated and lost. He was my person. Without him, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I cried constantly, had a photo of him blown way up and would talk to “him,” and would read nothing but books about dying and the afterlife. I even Googled how I could take my life and still go to heaven to be with my love. In other words, I was losing my mind in my grief. Out of concern, a family member told me to see my doctor, so I did, thinking he’d prescribe an antidepressant or something. Instead, he told me to go to our local grief support group, and it literally saved my life. At first, it was hard, but after some time, I looked forward to going, sharing and hearing others talk. I slowly started to feel like myself again and enjoy life, and I was able to move on. — Feeling at Peace
Dear At Peace: Thank you for sharing your experience. Though I’m certain not a day goes by you don’t miss and think of your late fiance still, I’m grateful you found consolation and community following such a sudden and unimaginable loss. Hopefully “Drowning” is able to do the same and find ways to honor her “Shelby” in death as she did in life.