Dear Abby: My 19-year-old sister died 2 years ago from an overdose. I'm 13. We were very close when we were little, but during the 4 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.
Dear Abby: I met a guy online. We have been dating for some time now. We have a wonderful connection and have our dates on Skype. The problem is, we have never met in person.
Every time we plan on meeting, he shuts up for a time, isn't reachable, then suddenly reappears and makes excuses, asking me to forgive him and plan another meeting. Should I still believe this will happen anytime soon? – Left Hanging in Nairobi
Dear Left Hanging: I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but something smells fishy here. "Catfishy." From where I sit, it appears your wonderful connection may be only your connection to the Internet. A person who does this repeatedly may not be who he has represented himself to be. Do not count on him for ANYthing.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.