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Annie’s mailbox: Grieving boyfriend may be lonely

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Dear Annie: My sister, "Sophia," died in June. Sophia had been living with "John" for 19 years. They never married because shortly after he proposed, my sister became seriously ill. She did not want to strap John with her medical bills.

Sophia wanted me to continue being friends with John. But two weeks after she died, John's previous girlfriend showed up on his doorstep, and he started seeing her. I am still grieving. I have asked John to please stop talking about his girlfriend around me. I've told him that dating so soon shows no respect for Sophia.

Well, not only does he insist on talking about this woman, but he keeps inflicting her on us. He brought her to my parents' home. I thought that was very insensitive, but John does not see how rude he is. I told him his behavior shows a lack of morals, social etiquette and good judgment and proves he never loved my sister.

My family has some money, and we've always been generous with gifts, and now I wonder if that is why John was with Sophia. I helped my sister and John keep their home by refinancing under my name. I told him I do not want the girlfriend moving into that house. He's agreed to sell the place, but I'm going to have a hard time getting anything for it as he has run it down big-time. I realize everyone grieves differently, but really, Annie, two weeks? — Grieving in Wisconsin

Dear Grieving: Do you really think John stayed with your sister for 19 years, through a terminal illness, because your parents gave nice gifts? We think he loved her. The fact that he brings his new lady friend around means he still considers you his family. Yes, two weeks is soon, but many men who grieve are terribly lonely and vulnerable to the first woman who shows an interest. We know it's hard for you, so it's best if you keep your distance, but try not to fault him too much.

Dear Annie: My sister is getting married next summer. As her maid of honor, I am giving a bridal shower in our hometown, although she lives across the country.

It would be hard for my sister to take crystal wine goblets, linens and dishes with her on the plane. Should I ask everyone to ship their gifts before coming to the shower? Should I ship them myself, even though that would be expensive for me? Would a "gift-card-only" shower be tacky?

Please give me some advice. — Confused Shower Host

Dear Confused: Some stores will ship gifts after they are opened, or the bride can arrange for shipping. However, in cases like this, it is perfectly OK to have a gift-card-only shower, or one where guests bring cards indicating a specific gift has been sent to the bride's home. You also can be creative and have a shower where guests bring recipes, photographs, stories, etc. Have fun.

Dear Annie: I am a 52-year-old woman who always believed pot was safe, or at least safer than alcohol or other drugs. Like many people my age, I used pot off and on since high school. When I developed medical problems, I used it for pain rather than take pills. Before long I was smoking every day, even after the physical pain was gone.

There were many indications that I had become an addict. My judgment was impaired all the time, I was less able to handle daily problems, often became anxious and depressed, my memory was poor, and I couldn't concentrate or learn new tasks. My house got messy, my appearance got sloppy, and I didn't care.

With the help of good friends and family, my church and Marijuana Anonymous (they have meetings online at www.marijuana-anonymous.org), I have been clean for 60 days and am enjoying life again. — C.

Dear C.: We are glad you got your life back together, and we hope others who are addicted will wake up and smell the coffee.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.