DEAR ABBY: My 19-year-old sister died two years ago from an overdose. I'm 13. We were very close when we were little, but during the four years before she passed away, my parents didn't want us around each other for fear of her rubbing off on me, and she wasn't home half the time anyway. A year earlier she went to rehab, and I remember talking with her about how she was clean for good and then ...
It's just so lonely! All my friends have sisters and brothers and I don't, and I'm bored all the time. My parents work a lot, so I'm home alone at least three times a week, and although I've got friends and sports, I'm just really alone.
It's awkward going out to dinner or going on vacation because my parents just want to sit and relax, and I want to go out and do things, but it's embarrassing going everywhere with your parents. I miss having her around. -- ALONE IN OHIO
DEAR ALONE: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your sister. You are still grieving, which is why you say you feel alone. However, if you think about it, because of her addiction, she has been out of your life for longer than two years. It may be that what you're really mourning is the relationship you MIGHT have had.
You say you have friends. If you listen to them talk, you may find that they, too, sometimes feel alone even if they have siblings. Many teenagers have told me this. Because you're bored when you're not with your friends or participating in sports, consider finding a hobby that will fill your time when your parents are working, or do some volunteering if they agree.
You might also consider adopting a pet from a shelter to keep you company. Of course, pets require feeding, training, affection and exercise, but in return they offer unconditional love and companionship. If it would be all right with your parents, it might be a solution for you.