Dear Abby: I feel like I'm all alone. My daughter's father was recently murdered, and I can't seem to get over it. Even though we hadn't been close for months before his passing, he was all I have known since I was 13. I'm trying to move on, but it's so hard.

I don't know how to help my daughter with her issues because I'm still grieving for my own father, who was killed in Baghdad several years ago.

Am I a bad mother for not talking to her enough about it? Frankly, I try to avoid the subject every chance I get. But it's eating me up inside, and I can't stop crying.

How will I ever move on to another relationship when I can't even get past the last one? How can I help my child when I feel like I can't even help myself? — Desperate for Help in New York

Dear Desperate for Help: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the double loss in your life — the death of your father and the tragedy that befell your daughter's father. If you are going to heal yourself and your girl, it is imperative that you find help for both of you. She needs to talk about her feelings so she can deal with them — and so do you. Avoiding the subject, painful as it is, doesn't work, as you are finding out.

I recommend that you find a grief-support group for you and for your daughter, a safe place in which to share your feelings of loss, pain and possibly anger. An excellent place to start would be to ask your clergyperson. Please don't put it off because help is available.

Dear Abby: I'm 25 and my boyfriend, "Dave," is 32. I love him dearly. He's my best friend, and I know we cherish each other, but I always feel like I'm No. 2, 3 or 4 in his life.

Dave has a 4-year-old son and is occupied with the boy three nights a week. On those nights I am not welcome. There are no phone calls, and I feel alienated and lonely. Also, he stays in a job he claims he hates because he can't afford to miss one payment to his estranged wife.

Dave refuses to get a divorce because it's expensive, and he is afraid that she will abuse him financially. Yet he gives her extra money on a regular basis despite his 50/50 custody (at present), and he's often broke because of some demand or another she had made. She has a great job as a nurse, but I know very little about her situation so I can't judge her.

I am frustrated. When I try to discuss it, Dave tells me he's sorry, "things will change" and eventually I'll be able to share his life with him and his son. But it's been more than a year, and nothing has changed. Should I hold on? This is driving me crazy. — Losing Patience in Connecticut

Dear Losing Patience: Your boyfriend appears to be a conscientious parent, but he is married and not available for what you want. He may be satisfied with the status quo, which is why he has made no move to divorce or to further include you.

Dave is not your "best friend." Best friends discuss their problems and work out compromises. Please consider moving on, because if you allow this situation to drag on another year or two or three — and I suspect it will — you'd have to be crazy.

Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old guy in high school. Two of my best friends have started smoking pot before school every morning. They have asked me to join them and "do it just once." I have tried over and over to get them to stop. They say things like, "It's the best feeling in the world," and "It doesn't hurt you at all."

I know for a fact that what they're saying isn't true. But I don't want to lose them as friends. What should I do? — Just Saying No in Montrose, Colo.

Dear Saying No: I have news for your friends. Smoking pot may seem like it's the "best feeling in the world," and "it won't hurt them at all," but walking into class stoned can be fatal when it comes to paying attention, retaining information and earning passing grades.

Smoking marijuana on a daily basis is the definition of addiction. If used frequently, it has been known to cause users to lose their initiative. ("Why bother to try?") Not only should you not join them, you should quietly inform a responsible adult about what's going on. What your friends are doing is illegal, and their "harmless habit" could prevent them from earning a high school diploma.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate