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by Abigail Van Buren

Only Child Senses Time Has Come to Leave Widowed Mom

DEAR ABBY: I am an only child who has lived at home all her life -- 44 years. My father recently passed away, so now it is just Mom and me. She has become extremely clingy. She is jealous of my friends and feels I must be with her for almost everything. What can I do?

I think I should move out, but she will take it badly. Also, I'm concerned about her health. She's 71, diabetic and has a heart condition. Is this a lost cause or is there hope? -- HOPING IN FLORIDA

DEAR HOPING: I agree that you should move. It would have been better had you cut the umbilical cord while your father was still alive, but better late than never.

Are there relatives or friends who can look in on your mother regularly? If there are, enlist their help. She should not be allowed to become isolated and solely dependent on one person. Look into grief support groups and other programs for seniors in your community.

If your mother needs a companion and your family finances allow it, hire someone to stay with her. It's time you had a life of your own. Consider it the price of your freedom.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death