Dear Abby: Knowing the details of friend’s murder adds to my grief

The traumatized survivor’s last thoughts of the night and first thoughts of the morning are about the horrors of her death.

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DEAR ABBY: A dear friend I have known since we were children was murdered. She was lovely in every way, and I am bereft. I cannot process my grief over her untimely passing because it was accompanied by such trauma.

Images of her murder flash through my mind, especially at night while I’m trying to go to sleep. They also wake me up in the morning. Talking about it makes it worse because it revives the horror, and also because people want to know details as though it is just a story. I feel it is disrespectful to her memory and my affection for her to reduce it to that.

I’m usually a resourceful person, but I have no road map for this. It is of considerable relief that her killer was found, but the details revealed by the media have added to my trauma. I have had friends die at even younger ages from other causes, but not this. Some of our mutual friends are in the same boat as I am, so any guidance you can provide would be appreciated. — BESIDE MYSELF IN ILLINOIS

DEAR BESIDE MYSELF: I am so sorry for your friend’s untimely and tragic death. Clearly, it was shocking and traumatizing for everyone she left behind. You are not obligated to satisfy the curiosity of anyone about the “details.” (There is no limit to the amount of curiosity something like this can generate.) All you have to say is you do not wish to discuss it. Period!

Although you didn’t mention how long it has been since you lost your friend, because it is causing you to have nightmares, please discuss this with a licensed mental health professional. It may be painful, but it’s the most effective way to work through this.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my partner, “Lizzie,” for five years. We are both divorced and have created a blended family of six children (four are hers; two are mine). I’m within 10 years of retirement and have a decent net worth. Unfortunately, Lizzie has no savings and is unemployed.

During our time together, I have paid for everything, which I’m OK with. I previously went through a nasty, contentious divorce. It was financially devastating. My ex still brings me back to court every year in an attempt to increase her support, which is a painful process.

Lizzie would like us to get married, primarily for financial stability. I am resistant because I do not want the financial exposure of another divorce. However, this situation creates an inequality in our relationship. Can I address her concern without marrying her, or are we doomed? — SCARED OF COURT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SCARED: This is a question you should address with your attorney. There are ways you can ensure that Lizzie will be taken care of in the event of your death or incapacity, but they will require documentation. Your attorney can — and should — guide you in regard to this.

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.

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