Annie's Mailbox: Hopelessly Unhealed
Dear Annie: Ten years ago, I fell in love with "Brandon" and had the two happiest years of my life. Then he changed. We broke up, and I found out he had been having sex with another coed. His deception and harsh words put a stop to any fantasies of reconciliation.
I soon began a relationship with "Travis," and we remain together. We've had our ups and downs, but I know he loves me and our values align. Despite everything, however, I have never been able to get over Brandon. I know it's absurd.
Brandon and I have been in sporadic contact through mutual friends. He married the coed, a manipulative type who has made it clear she doesn't want to hear my name. The life he leads now is not one I would want for myself.
I've been told that Brandon would like to see me, just as a friend, but he has made no move to initiate contact. I ought to know better than to believe it, but I feel a pain at the core of my body whenever I think of him. Tears come to my eyes when I recall the joy we had together.
I love Travis, but I don't feel for him what I felt for Brandon. Travis doesn't deserve such divided affections. Am I doing a disservice to him by ignoring these persistent feelings? Is it realistic to want that joy again? -- Hopelessly Unhealed
Dear Hopeless: You have an idealized version of Brandon based on the two years of bliss you had together. But that person doesn't exist (and maybe never really did), and the relationship is dead. You need to mourn its loss, move forward and force yourself to stop romanticizing and clinging to the past. Young love, especially first love, has an aura that cannot be duplicated, but it doesn't mean you cannot find something equally wonderful if you are open to it. If Travis isn't the right guy, it would be a kindness to set him free. But don't do it because you dream of reconnecting with Brandon. You'd only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
Dear Annie: My 96-year-old widowed mother has been in a nursing home for six years. Her mind is sharp, but she has a hard time taking care of herself. Mom has made many friends at the home and is loved by all who meet her.
My siblings and I visit as often as we can, and Mom is always happy to see us. The problem is her grandchildren. They claim they are too busy or can't bear to see Grandma in a home. But they don't even phone. The same goes for her many nieces and nephews. My siblings and I have told them how much it would mean if they visited, but it doesn't help.
Why do people find time to go to a funeral, but can't manage a visit when the person is still alive? I worry they will someday realize what a huge mistake they are making by ignoring Mom in her final years.
Please tell your readers to visit someone in a nursing home. I hope and pray that when I get old, my children and grandchildren find some time to spend with me. -- My Heart Is Aching for Lonely Seniors