Dear Abby: After several losses, fiancee’s grief may be more than I can handle

Since the deaths of her grandfather, mother and son, she’s been so depressed that she’s no longer the person she once was.

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DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I have been together for four years. I have lost A LOT of people in my life, so I am used to death. She, on the other hand, didn’t experience it until two years ago, when she lost her grandfather. The next year, her mother passed, and last year we lost a child — her oldest, my stepson.

Abby, she is so lost. She’s no longer the same person she once was, and I totally understand that. I’m sad and depressed, too, but she’s bad.

I love this woman like I have never loved any other. I can’t picture life without her, but lately I have begun to wonder how it would affect me, her and the kids if I left. I’m not equipped to deal with someone else’s depression on top of my own. I have been trying, but I’m finding myself getting more and more angry. What should I do? — TORN IN THE EAST

DEAR TORN: You mentioned that you, too, suffer from depression. Are you receiving treatment for it? If you are seeing a psychologist (and being medicated), discuss this with the person who is working with you. You may need a change in your medication.

It isn’t surprising that with so much loss all at once in her life, your fiancee is grieving and depressed. Frankly, while I might suggest she join a support group for help in coping with the loss of her child, she may also need help from a licensed mental health professional.

Although you are tempted, I don’t think now is the time to abandon your fiancee and her children. Once she is stabilized, you may not want to leave at all.

DEAR ABBY: My 13-, almost 14-year-old daughter, “Gabbi,” is a shining star of responsibility and being self-driven. She also likes nice things.

Gabbi has been babysitting for my sister for several months and has saved almost every penny, which amounts to hundreds of dollars. I’m proud of her discipline. However, I think she should start buying some of her “frivolous wants” herself.

I’m willing to buy her and my other children gifts when I can and on special occasions on my single income, but Gabbi often asks me for $10 here and $10 there. Because it’s more than I can afford, I have to say no and see her silent disappointment. I know the simple answer is to not give in, but I want my daughter to learn that it’s OK to spend a little on herself here and there. I’m not sure what words to use to convince her. Can you help? — MOM ON A BUDGET

DEAR MOM: Your daughter is old enough for an honest conversation with her mom. Start by telling her how proud of her you are that she has shown how disciplined and responsible she is because those traits will serve her well in years to come.

Tell her you feel bad about disappointing her when you refuse her requests, but now that she’s nearly 14, she’s mature enough to understand you are the sole wage earner, money is tight and her frequent requests put a strain on the budget. Then point out that she has saved quite a bit of income from her babysitting, and she should direct some of it toward the items she’s asking you for.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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