A New Way to Honor Loved Ones
Dear Annie: Your reply to the couple who lost their newborn daughter on Valentine's Day, reprinted from your 2019 column, struck a chord.
While they have been blessed with another baby, it in no way diminishes the loss of their firstborn. I have not known the grief of losing a child and am therefore unqualified to claim that I understand it. However, I have lost those dearest to me. Therefore, I can say with some certainty that neither platitudes nor most other pieces of advice are helpful. The only true path to some measure of healing comes with time and, hopefully, the love of those in one's support circle.
There is no magic formula that can help the grieving move through the minefield of the calendar year. I can only speak for myself after loss made certain holidays, and each anniversary, another season of pain to be endured. Finally, I resolved to reclaim what peace I could in this way:
Every year, after choosing someone who reminds me of those no longer here, or some organization that they supported, I give modest gifts in loving memory of them. It does not bring them back, but it helps to know their legacy and spirit live on in a timely donation or in the surprised smiles of living recipients who unwrap a bouquet of flowers in the middle of winter, a cashmere scarf in their favorite color, a little parcel of luxury foods, etc.
One beloved family member delighted in watching children playing in the snow. As Christmas and its attendant wave of sorrow approached, I learned of a little boy whose mother was struggling to provide winter necessities. Seeing him zipped snugly inside a warm coat, mittened hands gripping the sides of his new sled as he barreled down the snowy hill with exuberant whoops -- I swear I could feel and hear my loved one beside me, laughing. -- A friend in the Northeast
Dear Friend: I love your letter because you are paying it forward. You are taking a difficult situation and making the world a better place. Thank you for sharing.
Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from a woman who was asking about a man who claims to love her despite the fact they have never even met. You told her to forget the relationship.
I think it is worse than that. As a former fraud investigator, I read her letter with much concern. This plays out as a "romance scheme" or "catfish" incident.
Hopefully, she has not shared personal information or sent money to this person. And she should not accept a visit from him with his "teammates," as he suggested. She needs to block him ASAP. -- Retired Law Enforcement
Dear Retired Law Enforcement: Thank you for your letter. I love hearing from professionals who have "been there, done that." Your letter will also help other readers who face the threat of being scammed by strangers on the internet.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.