Dear Annie: My so-called "best friend" (she was the maid of honor at my wedding) ghosted me right after my wedding 23 years ago. I have no idea why she quit communicating, and I've pretty much accepted that she will never reach out to me. I've tried, several times, to reach out to her and never once received a reply. I haven't tried to connect with her for several years, but I need to know: How do I stop caring? This hurt me deeply, and I still miss her. My parents called her their third daughter. We were roommates in college and apartment-mates after college. She introduced me to my eventual husband - and then silence. If I knew why, I might be able to let her go, but I've not the slightest clue. Nobody else - her parents, her sister, mutual acquaintances - has any idea, either. How do I bind up this wound? - Left Behind in Washington
Dear Left Behind: I'm sorry that your friend abandoned you so abruptly. Fortunately, closure is a gift we can give ourselves. I encourage you to write out everything you'd like to say to her - about your confusion, pain, anything you're feeling or have ever felt about the situation. Pour your heart out on the subject until there's not a drop left. Then take a beat and a breath. Imagine your friend apologizing for hurting you. Then, pick up your pen again and write a letter expressing your forgiveness. Tuck this letter away in a drawer or dispose of it somehow - whatever feels right. If this doesn't give you peace after some time, repeat the writing prompt. At best, it will offer you the closure you're looking for. At worst, it will be a therapeutic exercise.
Know that the way your friendship ended does not negate all the meaningful years you two shared together. Not all friendships are forever; it doesn't mean that they weren't for real.
Dear Annie: I am writing this to you on what is apparently National Daughters Day. I wasn't aware of this holiday, but now I am because moms of daughters are bragging and boasting all over social media. My sister-in-law boasted that she prayed for a daughter and got one. Well, I prayed for a daughter, too, after two boys. I have three sons. I love my boys dearly, but I know there's a special bond between a mother and daughter. Each of my sons is married with sons and a daughter. I often say, "I don't have a daughter, but I have three great daughters-in-law!" And I do, but they don't shop with me or invite me to lunch or the movies. They are in my home often. I babysit for them and attend all family functions and activities. (Their mothers live out of town.) There is a difference, and the bragging and boasting from moms with daughters really hurts. - Hurt Mother-in-Law
Dear Hurt: Following the train of thought in your letter, it seems the heart of the matter here is you're feeling hurt that your daughters-in-law don't invite you out. Why not invite them out? Going to lunch, the movies or other outings with your daughters-in-law, one on one or as a group of gals, sounds like a fantastic idea that simply might not have occurred to them yet.
More generally, your comment raises an important topic: Family-themed holidays can be especially painful for people who have lost a daughter, mother, father or whomever the holiday is celebrating. In such cases, some find it helpful to commemorate the person they've lost in a special way on that day, such as by looking through old photos, meditating on the love shared, attending an event the family member would have loved or volunteering for a cause that they supported or that is connected to them in some way.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.