Status update: grief

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Our family is grieving my son who died six months ago in a car accident. My ex-wife is making everything worse. She found his passwords and posts on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. She also responds to other people’s posts using his account. Everyone has told her how distressing this is. She says it makes her feel better, and that her therapist has encouraged her to continue. What kind of therapist would support such a thing? How can I get my ex-wife to stop?

It’s against Facebook’s policies to log into another person’s account, so ending your ex-wife’s online activity does not require her consent. Contact Facebook, report that your son is deceased, and have the account closed. You can also choose to have his Facebook page memorialized so family and friends can post when appropriate. If the account is memorialized, your ex-wife still loses access to post as him. But this is where your situation gets sticky. When your ex loses control of the accounts, there’s likely to be blowback. So if the account is memorialized, she could post rants on your son’s page using her own account. I suggest shutting his account down completely. By the way, Twitter has similar policies in place and will assist you. I suspect that your wife’s grief has inspired her to exaggerate about her therapist. Grief can be mercurial. We think we have accepted our loss, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, grief hits again, sometimes leveling us. Not every therapist understands that kind of pain beyond the standard textbook explanation. It’s best to find a therapist who specializes in treating grief and loss. Regardless, you can’t be certain that your wife’s claim about her therapist is true. Instead, focus on what matters.

I try to avoid my mother as much as possible. She’s staunchly critical of me, even verbally abusive. Lately, I’ve been depressed about some personal problems and have not returned her calls. She left me six messages in one day accusing me of not caring about her or the family (she positions herself as the intermediary between me and everyone else). This just makes me more depressed. What should I do?

Trade her in? Decide you’re grown and don’t need a mother? If neither option seems viable, stand up for yourself. (“If someone I love doesn’t hear from me, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped loving them. It means I’m busy taking care of necessary things for myself.”) Or set a boundary. (“I’m not interested in talking about that. I’ll let you know when, and if, I will be.”) Remember, you’re an adult in conversation with an adult. Act accordingly.

At what point in dating can you stop looking perfect? I’m been dating a guy who is everything I want. But getting weekly mani-pedis, monthly bikini waxes and spray tans is so expensive. If I don’t keep it up, I’m afraid he’ll think I’m a slob. Please be specific in your response.

People are supposed to look perfect while dating? Maybe, you’re reality challenged. Stop watching the Kardashians, and change up your dates. Volunteer together to serve a meal at Loaves and Fishes. Or bag groceries at the Elk Grove Food Bank. Hike together in the Sierras in the pouring rain. Let your man fall in love with you, not your fear-driven notion of fancy. Here’s some Yoda-esque specificity to ponder: Be perfect never.

Meditation of the Week

“Does the notion of chocolate preclude the concept of free will?” jokes theologian David Augsburger. Join me to talk about the healing properties of chocolate and love at the Sacramento Chocolate Salon at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 30, at Embassy Suites, 100 Capitol Mall. A $20 advance ticket is required. More at <a href="http://www.sacchocolatesalon.com/">www.sacchocolatesalon.com</a>.