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Thu, Oct. 17

Dear Annie: Sitting idle while grieving

Dear Annie: I’m a retired man. My elderly mom lived with me for a long time, and I stayed busy with her. She recently passed, and I’m having a hard time getting motivated to do anything. I don’t have very many friends whom I’ve stayed in touch with. It’s not that I don’t have things to do, such as home repairs and other things that I have let go. It’s just that I can’t get going on them. Also, my past hobbies, such as cars, don’t interest me as much as they once did. I find myself just sitting. I know that none of this is normal, but there again, motivation! I can’t be the only person who has this problem. I’m in my early 60s and too young to just sit. Thank you in advance for any ideas. — Holding the Chair Down

Dear Holding the Chair Down: First, I’m very sorry for the loss of your mother. It sounds as if your mom was a wonderful person. During the grieving process, it is not unusual to become depressed and unmotivated. Knowing this can be helpful in starting to feel better. You are bottling up a lot of sadness. The first step might be to speak with a counselor about your feelings or join a grief support group. But take your time. Nothing heals like time, and you can’t rush the process. Gradually, as the pain from your loss gains distance, you will find yourself getting back to the hobbies and friends that bring you joy.

Dear Annie: A recent letter in your column referred to “coring a tomato.” When I slice a fresh garden tomato, we eat all of it — skin, seeds, juice, yum. I did not even know there is a core. Apples have cores. Do tomatoes also have them? — Margot

Dear Margot: If a tomato isn’t entirely ripe, it may have a tough middle “core,” which some people discard, though it’s not imperative. The tops of tomatoes are tougher and contain the leaves, which have a reputation for being toxic, but even those are technically fine to eat. It would take about a pound and a half of the leaves to reach a level that’s toxic to humans. So munch away.

Dear Annie: I had an immediate reaction to “Sick of It,” the man whose wife and business partner is ignored by other professional women. He clearly has the best intentions, but as long as he is the one doing the introductions, he will be the one perceived as the lead partner. Describing her attributes only adds to this impression, I think, and may inadvertently come across as patronizing. The next time the couple meet another professional woman/client, perhaps the wife should do the introductions and describe her husband’s attributes. — Hoping to Help

Dear Hoping to Help: I received about two dozen other letters making this same astute observation, which I overlooked in my original response. I appreciate your writing and second your suggestion.

“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

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