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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Struggles to Help Frustrated Widowed Mother

DEAR ABBY: Mom is 61. She lost her husband (my dad) six months ago. They had been married for 37 years. He used to do almost everything for her. Now her world has changed because she must do things for herself -- like doing the dishes or paying the bills.

When we talk, she constantly complains about tasks that have the simplest of solutions. If I offer advice, she gets defensive and says, "Fine! Tell me how I should live my life." I have reached the conclusion that she doesn't want advice, but she continues to complain and be upset. My siblings and I don't live close by. How can we help her? -- CARING DAUGHTER IN COLORADO

DEAR DAUGHTER: Six months ago, your mother lost half of her "self." Tasks that seem ordinary to you are still new to her. Resist the urge to help with advice unless you are specifically asked. And recognize that when she complains, rather than looking for advice, she may be venting about her pain and frustration.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death