Dear Annie: My father was recently killed in an accident. Now it's just my mother and me. I don't know how my mom is going to cope with the loss, and I am not sure how I will, either. I won't have my father around to see me graduate, get married or have kids.
Here's the issue: I'm 20 and will be transferring soon to an out-of-state college. This was planned months ago. But I worry that once I leave, my mother will have a breakdown.
Am I making the right choice to go away? I've been dreaming of this college for years, but now I feel selfish. I know I can't put my life on hold, but I want to be sure I'm doing things the right way. I want to be on my own and learn to become independent, but I also realize I'll be alone and will have to start all over, just like my mom. It's going to be hard.
Mom has friends, Dad's family and our church nearby to give her support. I won't have any of that at my new school. Maybe I just need to force myself to be strong because no one else will push me to do it. I know my mom would like me to stay, but she'd feel guilty if I did. I'm so lost. -- Devastated Daughter
Dear Devastated: The death of a loved one can make decisions difficult, and it usually is best not to rush into anything. But you seem ready to leave home, and if this is the case, you should go. Your mother has a support network in place, and you can call her often in order to stay in close touch and be sure she is OK. And you also will need a support network. Your new school should offer counseling services, and we hope you will look into them as soon as you arrive. But if you are reluctant to go, find out whether the school will permit you to defer enrollment for a semester.
Dear Annie: For a few years, I have been in a serious relationship with a beautiful 54-year-old woman whom I've considered marrying. But she likes to flirt and has had several men fall in love with her and propose marriage. It has created a lot of discomfort for me and takes a great deal of patience to tolerate.
She insists that she's not like that anymore. But, Annie, she's suddenly keeping company with her rich, widowed cousin who is 20 years older. In the past two years, he has taken her on seven trips, including cruises and resorts where they share a single room.
She says I have nothing to worry about because he's her cousin. Is that true? I'm also hurt that we had planned to do all of these things together. Am I being oversensitive, or should I be seeing red flags? -- Home Alone
Dear Home Alone: Red flags? Honey, the flags are on fire. This woman is taking advantage of your patience and tolerance. We suspect this man may not really be her cousin, and even if he is, it doesn't preclude intimacy. If she respected your relationship, she would not be taking trips with another man and sharing his room. She cannot be trusted. We think you should get out while you can.
Dear Annie: I am writing about "Worried Grandma," who said her granddaughter, "Kelly," is loud and talks excessively.
I am the mother of a son with a profound hearing loss. He is 24, happily married and has two cochlear implants. Talking excessively can be a sign of hearing loss. Kelly says she knows she is loud but is unable to control it. That can happen with hearing loss because they can't hear well enough to control their own volume. Please suggest that "Worried Grandma" have Kelly evaluated by an ENT -- Mother of a Deaf Son
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.