DEAR ABBY: Five years ago I was told by a fertility doctor that I can't have children. Having a husband, children and a home in which we can build memories and traditions were the only things I ever wanted in life.
Since then I have tried to find meaning in life and things to fill the huge void that would have been filled by my dreams. I have not been successful. I have been on antidepressants, gone to counseling, volunteered, held a job, traveled, and confided in loved ones who, frankly, don't want to hear about it any longer (and I don't blame them). But I still feel completely empty.
There isn't anything I look forward to in life. (I'm 45, divorced, most of my family has passed on, and I am an atheist.) I don't know what else to do or where else to turn. Can you help me? -- BROKEN RECORD
DEAR BROKEN: What immediately comes to mind is that feeling as you do about children, you might make a terrific foster parent or adoptive parent to an older child. There are many in the system who need loving, supportive homes.
However, if that doesn't work for you, consider looking into volunteering to become a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children through a program called CASA. CASA volunteers make sure these vulnerable children don't get lost in the legal system, and you might find that to be rewarding. You'll find more information about this at casaforchildren.org.