DEAR ABBY: When my mom passed away, friends and family were very responsive immediately following her death. During that time, I was numb and in a fog. Weeks later, when I really needed emotional support and help packing things up, no one was around. The same thing happened when my father passed away, and now with the passing of my beloved dog. I realize that everyone is busy with their own lives. A few days of caring and then "crickets"! Is this the new normal? -- BUSY IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BUSY: I am sorry you have experienced all the deaths you have because the sadness can be cumulative. I do not think people mean to be insensitive at times like this. Unless someone has experienced the kind of losses that you have, they often fail to understand that the grieving person may need more than an "I'm sorry for your loss." This is why it is important for those who are grieving to express to their friends what they need from them. Sometimes people are just waiting for guidance.