Annie Lane: New love will take its place beside the old

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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Dear Annie: I was troubled by one particular sentence in the letter from “Missing Love,” who wanted another relationship after his wife died. He said, “My problem is that I still love her.”

My husband died four years ago, and I can assure Missing Love that he will continue to love his wife, and that is a FACT, not a “problem.” What lame sort of love would it be if it just came to a screeching halt with her death?

In time, he might even come to see that love as a blessing, not something in need of a solution. He may or may not find love again, but if he does, the new — and much different — love will find a place beside the old one, not in place of it.

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— Missing Love, Too

Dear Missing Love, Too: Your letter touches on the power of love and the different forms it can take. Just because someone is physically gone from this world does not mean their spirit or love are gone. You have a wonderful approach to coping with loss while finding a new person to love. Thank you for writing.

• • •

Dear Annie: I am a retired educator, and I thought “Recently Retired Educator” was too tough on substitute teachers. I taught chemistry, and it was virtually impossible to find a substitute teacher who was qualified to fill in for me. Anyone so qualified would be holding down a full-time position somewhere, and I knew that.

So I rarely used sick days because I was concerned about who would fill in and how my students would fare. When I felt so badly that I really did not care about such things, I knew it was a day to call in sick. I always had a lesson sitting on my desk that any substitute could use with very little preparation: a worksheet or problem set that students could work at in small groups to develop their skills with very little input from the substitute teacher.

Substitute teachers are amazing people. They take a telephone call at 6 a.m. with instructions on where and when to arrive, preside over a classroom and subject matter that might be unfamiliar to them, with a group of students they don’t know. If the principal needs somebody to fill in for some extra little duty, the sub will likely get that added on to their assignment. And the pay is lousy — not enough to live on even if you are employed four or five days a week. The best motivation for the sub is that they might be able to make a good impression on the principal and perhaps have a better shot at a full-time position.

Yes, some substitute teachers are really good, and some are marginal. But when you consider what they have to do and how they are rewarded, I am amazed that there are people willing to fill the need. Bless them.

— Also Retired Educator

Dear Retired Educator: Thank you for your letter. It adds a nice level of understanding of the life of a substitute teacher.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to