Dear Annie: I am 75 years old. My wife of more than 50 years died suddenly and without warning a year and a half ago, and I began drinking excessively almost immediately. I have since regained control.
Here's the problem: During one of my drinking episodes, my daughter-in-law claims I groped her. I have no memory of this. I apologized just the same. My son is naturally upset, and I am, too. Honestly, I have absolutely zero sexual interest in my daughter-in-law. An enormous rift has developed in our small family as a result of this incident.
How can this sad development be rectified? — Embarrassed
Dear Embarrassed: I'm so sorry for your loss. It seems the apology itself was not enough for your daughter-in-law. Perhaps you could ask her what else you could do to regain her trust. If she or your son cannot offer any concrete ways in which you could help rectify the situation, you'll have to hope that time will heal the wounds. Regardless, please try to be compassionate toward yourself, and seek out the support and company of friends, loved ones or a bereavement support group.
Dear Annie: You are the best one to have this spot yet. Next to brushing my teeth, reading your column is the first thing I do every morning.
I'm writing because you previously published a poem about losing a pet. I kept it for the longest time and now have misplaced it. My son and his wife are losing their beloved Lab, and I need to share that piece with them to help ease the pain. Could you please send it to me?
P.S. My lovely wife and I have been together for 59 years, and I've no problems to report so far — but I keep telling her that if she ever messes with me, I am writing to Annie. Keep up the good work. — Charles E.
Dear Charles E.: My heart goes out to your son and his wife. I believe you're referring to the poem "The Rainbow Bridge." It has brought me great comfort over the years, and I hope it will do the same for your family.
"By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
"Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
"Where the friends of man and woman do run,
"When their time on earth is over and done.
"For here, between this world and the next,
"Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
"On this golden land, they wait and they play,
"Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
"No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
"For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
"Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
"Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
"They romp through the grass, without even a care,
"Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
"All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
"Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
"For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
"Together again, both person and pet.
"So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
"The time of their parting is over at last.
"The sadness they felt while they were apart,
"Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
"They embrace with a love that will last forever,
"And then, side-by-side, they cross over... together."
Copyright 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission. http://www.newrainbowbridge.com
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