DEAR ABBY: I am one of your male readers, and I'm going into my second year of high school. Last year was the best year ever. Ever since school ended, though, I keep having this dream that I'm in the last days of the year, and I feel this sense of stress and urgency.
I have considered the several Freudian implications of this dream, such as the fact that it might be associated with my desire for the year to continue or some variation of that. Still, though, I keep having the dream. I also tried to consider what made the year seem incomplete to me that would keep me dreaming about it, but even that doesn't seem to help. What can I do? -- DREAM-CATCHER IN WISCONSIN
DEAR DREAM-CATCHER: My advice is to just relax and let your mind go where it wants to go without overanalyzing. You are obviously an intelligent young man. But it's time to stop obsessing about your dream, because the more you do, the more it will recur.
Although Freud made a career of analyzing dreams, in case you may have missed it, he also said, "Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar." Please take that to heart, because it applies to you.
DEAR ABBY: I read one of your "pennies from heaven" columns more than a year ago. I thought the idea was quaint, but didn't pay it much mind because I've always felt that when someone's life ends -- that's it! I never believed in an afterlife. Well, I do now.
Alan, my best friend of 12 years, recently took his own life. It was a devastating loss for me, one I am still dealing with. However, one thing has been a huge help -- the pennies he leaves for me.
Alan used to give me any pennies and spare change he collected in his desk and pockets. He knew I was saving all the money I could get my hands on to buy something for my new kitty, and it was his unobtrusive way of helping. After Alan's death, I didn't associate the "pennies from heaven" letters in your column with him ... until the day before his funeral.
It was the morning of the last workday of the week. I just couldn't face going to work, knowing Alan's funeral was the next day. I sat crying in my car for 10 minutes, feeling nothing but anguish as I watched people pass through the parking garage to the high-rise elevator. More than 20 people must have passed by as I sat crying in my car.
After the last person was gone, I dried my eyes and walked slowly toward the elevator. As I pushed the button, I cast my eyes to the floor, feeling utterly hopeless and depressed. I saw a new penny staring face-up with this year's date on it! Suddenly I felt as if I wasn't alone anymore. I picked it up and called out Alan's name, as if I expected him to answer. He didn't, but I felt him "with me," and knew he was telling me I was going to be OK.
I have found several other pennies since then. Each felt like a sign from Alan, urging me to get on with my life. I framed the first penny with a photo of Alan and me. Whenever someone asks me what the penny means, I tell them Alan left it to me. And I smile. -- KELLI IN ALABAMA
DEAR KELLI: Alan left you more than a penny. He left you the knowledge of what it means to be a supportive friend. Lucky you.
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