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1 - 12 of 12 Comments Last updated Apr 3, 2013

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#1
Apr 3, 2013
 
DEAR AMY: My teenage brother,“Jamie,” died last month in a car accident. My whole family misses him deeply, but I’m most concerned about my teenage sister,“Lana.” She and my brother were close in age and were constant companions.

After a few days of nonstop crying, Lana’s tears suddenly dried up, and she smiled and laughed quite normally. I was happy she seemed at peace, but then when other negative things piled up over the course of a few weeks (including the end of a friendship, a job loss and a robbery), she seemed abnormally unconcerned about any of it, still smiling and joking and shrugging it off with,“It doesn’t matter; life goes on.”

Is sudden, extreme apathy a normal response to grief? Should I get my sister help or just write it off as her own way of coping?-- Concerned Sister

DEAR CONCERNED: My sympathies to all of you for this shocking loss. There is no one way to grieve and there is no one way to cope with loss. I’m sure you have noticed this in your own family, where each family member might have spun off in separate orbits of grief, handling this in his or her own way.

You should not write off any concern you have about a family member, and I agree that your sister’s apathy in the face of repeated stresses is distressing. She may be seriously depressed, dissociative or worse. And because she is a teenager (and not yet fully emotionally mature), you should not discount or make assumptions about anything.

Please get her in to see a mental health professional right away. Go with her and speak to the therapist together. It will be useful for all of you to have ongoing professional help.

The American Psychological Association hosts a helpful database of therapists; you can locate a therapist according to specialty and location. Check apa.org . Your family doctor can also make a recommendation.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I live in a house with two male roommates. I have noticed that one of the roommates has stockpiled black garbage bags in the basement. I moved them recently because they were surrounding the hot water heater, and I felt it was a hazard. The bags seem to be filled with garbage.

I find everything about this situation strange. My boyfriend doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers because we plan on buying a house this year and leaving the roommate world.

Should I stay mum for the remainder of our living situation or should I tell him that garbage is put out every week and not piled in the basement?-- Unsure

DEAR UNSURE: We seem to have reached a strange threshold, where writing to me has substituted for even the most benign and obvious human inquiry. I mean, you live with this person. You literally breathe the same air. And yet you and your boyfriend would rather live surrounded in garbage than risk asking a question?

I suggest you stand at the bottom of the basement stairs and holler up:“Hey, Clem. What’s with all these garbage bags down here? Is this your stuff or is this garbage? We put the trash out at the curb on Friday nights. I’d be happy to help you drag these bags out, but I really don’t think they should be down here.”

Repeated (and regrettable) viewings of “Hoarders” have taught me more than I want to know about people who develop garbage hoarding problems. If your roommate has this (relatively rare) condition, it’s best to nip it in the bud before your landlord gets involved and assesses all of you for damage caused by this hazard.

DEAR AMY:“Querying Daughter” asked what she should do about her elderly parents’ hygiene issues. I liked your recommendations that she should be more active and helpful in their household. I’d also like to add that hygiene issues are sometimes caused by oncoming dementia or other health problems.

This helpful daughter really should start going to medical appointments with her folks; that way she will be better informed about their medical issues.-- Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: An excellent suggestion. Thank you.

Since: Mar 09

Miami, FL

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#2
Apr 3, 2013
 
L1: Sounds like she's in severe denial. Encourage her to see a therapist.

L2: What Amy said. Duh.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#3
Apr 3, 2013
 
LW1: "There is no one way to grieve and there is no one way to cope with loss."

LW2: What Amy said. Really? You can't say, "Dude, is this trash?"

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#4
Apr 3, 2013
 
Lw1: Just start the poor girl off with some grief support group.

Lw2: Amy should have stopped with the first paragraph, which I'm sure the intern wrote.

Lw3: Stinky old people rehash. Yum.
tina

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#6
Apr 3, 2013
 
LW2: Is there a strong smell of rotting flesh in the basement???

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Tacoma, WA

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#7
Apr 3, 2013
 
tina wrote:
LW2: Is there a strong smell of rotting flesh in the basement???
That was my first thought...

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#8
Apr 3, 2013
 
L1: If she could get into some kind of group to help her express it, if she needs to, it would probably do her good.

L2: I'm proud of Amy. That's the perfect answer.

L3: Can't some medications make you smell? I dunno. I don't really care. I know there are people who have to take care of their parents and what-not so maybe these boring blurbs help them.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

United States

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#9
Apr 3, 2013
 
1- Leave her be!

“Colorful Beyond Words”

Since: May 11

"True Love Never Ends "

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#10
Apr 3, 2013
 
LW1 Grief therapy would certainly be advisable. Teens do need to talk it out.

LW2 Just ask !!

LW3 Good suggestions from the writer.
Kuuipo

Monterey, CA

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#11
Apr 3, 2013
 
LW1: I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your brother. Please find a counselor for your sister. She is at a difficult age and most likely has never had to deal with death, which is not easy for anyone. I don't think she is apathetic. I think she is masking her true feelings.

Since: Jan 10

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#12
Apr 3, 2013
 
Kuuipo wrote:
LW1: I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your brother. Please find a counselor for your sister. She is at a difficult age and most likely has never had to deal with death, which is not easy for anyone. I don't think she is apathetic. I think she is masking her true feelings.
I agree. I think it's very likely she's overwhelmed with emotion.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Schaumburg, IL

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#13
Apr 3, 2013
 
LW2 - i like the push back from the columnist!

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