DEAR ABBY: I recently had to put my 14-year-old dog to sleep. I adopted her when she was 2 and had her for 12 years. She had health issues, dementia, incontinence, and more importantly, she was no longer herself.
It was a very difficult decision, but the right one. I know this in my heart, but I am severely depressed. I can’t stop reliving the image of her death. (I stayed with her during the procedure.) I am losing sleep and interest in everything. I have another pet at home (a cat), and I will soon have my dog’s ashes back.
My kitty brings me a lot of joy, but my house seems so empty and quiet without my dog. I’m not ready to adopt another one, and not sure if I ever want to again. I have done volunteer work for a pet organization in the area, but I just cannot be around any other pets right now — especially dogs. I have a hard time just walking down the pet aisle in the grocery store.
I know time is the best healer, but I can’t seem to shake this. What would you suggest? — GRIEVING FOR MY LOSS
DEAR GRIEVING: You loved your dog, and you have suffered an important loss. You would not be normal if you weren’t grieving. Eventually the things that trigger you will become fewer, and when that happens, you will be ready to move forward. Have faith in that. If your sleeplessness and lack of interest in things that previously brought you happiness continue, however, you should discuss it with your doctor.
DEAR ABBY: I’m a 19-year-old girl who’s been with my boyfriend for two years. We are a wonderful match and love each other very much. There’s just one flaw in our relationship that I hold lots of guilt over. From the beginning, we have both known he would like to have kids, and I have always known that I do not. I don’t want biological children, and I have no desire to adopt. I’m not maternal.
My boyfriend and I had a deep conversation about it a while back when we realized there could actually be a future between us. He said he is willing to put aside his desire for kids so he can have a future with me. I feel guilty that I’m not the ideal woman for him. Should I break it off so he can find someone who wants children, or should I trust in his statement that his life really will be fulfilled with only me and no children? — GUILTY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR GUILTY: Not wanting children is nothing to feel guilty about. Many women feel as you do about the lifetime responsibilities of becoming a mother. I do think you would be wise to have several more “deep” conversations with your boyfriend to make sure he fully understands how serious you are on this subject and what marriage to you will mean. In addition, premarital counseling could be helpful to ensure you both are on the same page about other issues that might crop up.
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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