DEAR ABBY: My best friend, "Ann," abruptly ended our friendship seven years ago and I still can't get over it. We were friends from the time we were in first grade until we were 48. We were inseparable as children; she was the maid of honor in my wedding; and though we've lived 3,000 miles apart for most of our adult lives, we maintained a close friendship through phone calls and yearly visits.
Then Ann got mad about something I said and stopped returning calls. Finally, when I asked her what was wrong, she emailed me that our friendship "wasn't working" for her and she "wished me well." Around the time she stopped talking to me, she also cut ties with two other friends, and a couple of years later, stopped talking to her father. So this is a pattern with her.
I have solid relationships with my husband, grown kids, co-workers and other friends. Still, I can't shake this sense of loss. I miss Ann and think of her every day. I need closure, but don't know how to get it. She won't return phone calls or emails.
Losing her makes me feel like every other relationship is at risk. I now live in fear of alienating or angering my other friends. How can I overcome these emotions and get on with my life? -- SUFFERING IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR SUFFERING: You can get past this by scheduling some sessions with a therapist, or talking to your clergyperson. Surely by now you realize that Ann may have some issues. Please don't make them yours. Your other friends are not clones of this woman and are not likely to react in the extreme way she does. While counseling may not lessen your sense of loss, I hope it will give you a measure of peace of mind.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter's "Great Aunt Sally" sent her a high school graduation card and check a year too early. Sally is her grandmother's sister on her dad's side. Her dad and I are no longer together, but I'm still friendly with his mother and aunt. Her dad is not the right person to handle this, so it's up to us.
We don't want to offend or embarrass Aunt Sally by returning the check. Should I have my daughter return it with a thank-you note explaining the error? Or should I have her keep it and send a thank-you note letting her aunt know that her thoughtfulness is appreciated? Since this lady has a great sense of humor, I'm leaning toward the latter, but I don't want to keep something that isn't yet earned. Help! -- MOM OF AN ALMOST-GRAD
DEAR MOM: A gracious thank-you note is, of course, in order. Your daughter should keep the card and the check, and mention in her note that she graduates next year, because if Aunt Sally hears it from another relative, she may wonder why your daughter didn't tell her herself. If Aunt Sally has the sense of humor you say she does, she will take the news in stride.