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Dear Abby | New Year's looms as reminder of hubby's death

DEAR ABBY: My husband had a stroke the morning of New Year's Eve last year. He died on New Year's Day.


My husband had a stroke the morning of New Year's Eve last year. He died on New Year's Day.

This year has been hard for me. With the help of my strong faith and my family, I have been coping.

I am having an overwhelming feeling of anxiousness about the upcoming New Year's events. I don't want to go to any gatherings. (We usually stayed home.) I feel like going away, but where could I go without a lot of party stuff going on?

Should I just stay home and deal with the reminder of the events of his stroke happening here at home?

I don't know what to do. I don't want to be with anyone, but I don't want to sit around bawling my eyes out reliving the whole nightmare, either.

I'm confused and don't think I am thinking clearly.

I am not in some deep depression. I have accepted my husband's death, although I miss him dearly. I just feel nervous and anxious, and I don't feel like celebrating. Please help me figure this out.

- Holiday blues in Indiana

DEAR HOLIDAY BLUES: Please know that all the feelings you are experiencing are absolutely normal.

It is entirely possible that from now on you will associate New Year's with your husband's death. No law says that you must celebrate this holiday. If you would prefer not to be home at this time, consider checking into a hotel and asking a close friend or family member to join you.

Hopefully, as time goes by your anxiety will lessen. However, if that doesn't happen, then counseling can help you.

DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced in 2001 after a 20-year marriage. They reconciled a few years later, only to split up again after Dad again had an affair with a younger woman.

Dad is now living with his girlfriend, and the situation has my mother severely depressed.

Mom is in poor health due to a severe heart condition. She has had multiple bypass surgeries over the last 15 years and has a defibrillator permanently implanted in her chest. And she's not even 50.

Every time I speak with her or go to visit, she dwells only on the things Dad has done to her.

I understand her pain, but I don't know how to help her overcome it. Words cannot express the contempt I have toward him for doing this to her again.

Mom can't work because of the stress it puts on her heart. I try to get her to go out and do things, hoping it will ease her out of her depression, but she wants only to stay home, do housework and watch daytime soap operas. She has also begun smoking again against her doctor's orders.

How can I help her before she works herself into another heart attack?

- Heartsick in Houston

DEAR HEARTSICK: Your mother appears to be chronically depressed, and part of it may be due to her heart condition.

You can't fix what ails her, but you should accompany her to see her doctor and explain what's going on.

It's possible that with a combination of counseling and medication, her depression can be treated and she'll end the self-destructive lifestyle she has adopted. Because of her serious medical problems, her doctor should also be involved in her rehabilitation. *

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