Annie Lane: Finding a ‘new normal’ after grief

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Frustrated Peacemaker,” the woman whose husband constantly corrects her 80-year-old mom, who has dementia. I recall the following training in a volunteer class:

Use “ACE”

A: Don’t argue.

Email newsletter signup

C: Don’t correct.

E: Don’t explain.

It requires lots of vague agreement with the person suffering from dementia, or a simple, “Hmmm” is always useful. Hope this might help.

— Peacemaker

Dear Peacemaker: This is wonderful. Thank you.

• • •

Dear Annie: My granddaughter, age 22, and I live in the same town. We had always had a good, loving relationship until I received a text from her mother, my ex-daughter-in-law, accusing me of committing something against my granddaughter and saying that I was not to have contact with her for the rest of my life. I couldn’t respond because I was immediately blocked.

I’ve reached out through mail but have never gotten a response from my granddaughter or her mother. I’m at a total loss because I have no idea of what I supposedly did. As far as I know, there hasn’t been anything bad that’s happened to cause this reaction. I’ve tried to accept and let go, but it still bothers me. I love and miss my granddaughter so much and fear I will never see her again.

— Heartbroken


Dear Heartbroken Grandma: I am so sorry that you have that fear that you will never see your granddaughter again. The only way to understand what happened is to speak with your son. You could also try and reach out to your granddaughter, as she is an adult, and see why she is upset with you. But at the end of the day, if someone doesn’t want to see you, the kindest thing you can do is respect their boundaries and hope that they come back in time. Just continue to communicate your love to her via your son or directly to her.

• • •

Dear Annie: I’m writing in response to the grief therapist who encouraged you to refrain from using the term “new normal” with grieving individuals.

This individual implies that those of us who have experienced the death of a spouse will never feel “normal” again.

My current husband and I have journeyed through grieving the death of our first spouses. And we have facilitated grief support groups for over 18 years.

The “experts” in this wonderful support program have experienced the death of a spouse themselves. This term has been used by them for years. It gives those who feel like their own life has ended hope that they will not always feel so devastated.

Yes, life will never be the same again, but God can and does restore us, not to replace, but to love again.

— Been There

Dear Been There: Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. There is something so powerful about sharing your own experience with others and how you can love again. Hoping that your letter will bring hope to anyone who is hurting.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to