SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

March 8, 2013

Dear Abby: Son in jail struggles to cope with dad’s cancer diagnosis

(Continued)

Not knowing whether psychological counseling is available for prisoners in your jail — or how effective it is if it’s offered at all — I’m recommending you discuss this with a chaplain. It would be a safe way to air some of the emotions you are struggling with. You have my sympathy.

:Dear Abby: I am the mother of a “yours, mine and ours” family. Between us, my husband and I have six children. I have been “Mom” for his three children since the oldest was 6. Fifteen years have passed, and I raised all of them as my own. Because the stress of such a large family has taken its toll at times, I have said I couldn’t wait until everyone was 18 and out of the house.

Three of the children are on their own now, and three remain. The youngest is 14. I recently took my 18-year-old son to the Air Force recruiter to take his entrance test, and as I watched him walk into the building, I started to cry. I realized I don’t really want them to go away.

I have been a parent since I was 17, and now — at 40 — I’m having a hard time imagining life without them. I’m afraid of having only my husband to keep me occupied. There has never been a time without kids around. I’m afraid it’ll be like starting our relationship all over again, and he may not like what he sees. How can I get past the fear of not being needed or wanted anymore?

:Almost Empty-Nested in Vermont

:Dear Almost Empty-Nested: Instead of allowing fear or anxiety to drag you down, look at the bright side. Your nest will be full for four more years — and if there is something about yourself that you see that YOU don’t like, there is plenty of time to do something about it.

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