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Ask Amy: Amy says, ‘I’ll see myself out’

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: After 21 years writing the “Ask Amy” column, I’m announcing that I’m leaving this space. My final column will run at the end of June.

I’m healthy, happy, and 64 years old. This is a decision I’ve been wrestling with for more than a year.

When I was first hired by the Chicago Tribune to write an advice column after Ann Landers’ death, I was a middle-age, single mother. My daughter, Emily, and I moved from our long-time home in Washington, D.C., and relocated to Chicago.

My welcome to Chicago was to deliver a solo performance of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in front of 35,000 baseball fans during the seventh-inning stretch of a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

This turned out to be a metaphor for my experience writing this column, which has been an exuberant and sometimes nerve-wracking effort of trying to hit the right notes before a huge audience.

After several great years in Chicago, Emily left for college and I moved back to my tiny hometown of Freeville, N.Y., (pop. 505), to spend time with my sisters, aunts and cousins, and to be with my mother at the end of her life.

 

My experiences have mirrored those of many of my readers. For me, these last two decades have been about the intensity and consequences of both love and loss.

After returning home, I promptly tumbled into a Hallmark Channel plotline, when I fell in love with and quickly married a man I’ve known since childhood (we grew up on neighboring dairy farms). My husband Bruno and I then blundered into the oftentimes awkward blending of our family of five daughters.

I became a stepmother, and then a grandmother, all before I believed I was ready.

My mother and her three wonderful sisters are gone now. A niece and nephew died, tragically, while in their teens. Much of my recent life has been absorbed by caregiving, mourning, and recovery.

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