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Grieving mom wants to be alone

Dear Abby: My adult son passed away nine months ago. I am mostly numb. My home has always been welcoming, and I have had friends and family here constantly -- but now they won't leave! They don't seem to "get" the fact that I need some time to be alone.

I love these people, but my heart is broken. The only person I want to see and spend time with is my surviving son. I have lost my enthusiasm for almost everything. I work full time and no longer want to be the "hostess." I am TIRED. My sons and I were close, and I raised them by myself.

How do I tell my friends and family members that I need to be alone without offending them? I want to do the right thing.

-- Heartbroken in Texas

Dear Heartbroken: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. I'm sure your friends and family care deeply about you and are only trying to be there for you.

However, you need to heal as best as you can in your own way. Thank them for their constant support, and explain that you need some time to be alone and cope with this without a crowd around. They will understand.

Working your way through the grieving process can be exhausting. But if your "tiredness" persists, I'm advising you to discuss it with your doctor because it can be a symptom of chronic depression, which is a medical condition.

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Master mind

Dear Abby: At what age do you discontinue using "Master" before a boy's name when addressing an envelope?

-- Ms. D. in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Dear Ms. D.: According to my 16th Edition of "Emily Post's Etiquette" by Peggy Post: "Boys may be addressed as 'Master' on envelopes and formal correspondence until they are about 7 years old, and 'Mr.' when they become 18. In between, no title is used."

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