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Dear Abby: Cruel words add pain to this loss

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My cat recently passed away, and it has devastated me. He was my emotional support during some of the hardest times of my life — relationships ending, moving to different states, deaths in my family, lonely nights battling depression. My cat was my one constant source of peace and companionship. I miss him dearly.

When I mentioned to some friends that I’m looking forward to reuniting with him one day in the “hereafter,” a religious friend scoffed and laughed. She then proceeded to tell me cats do not have souls and I shouldn’t get my hopes up of ever seeing him again. I managed a small shrug and changed the subject, but on the drive home I was depressed, thinking about what she’d said.

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Upon further research, I found that, according to Catholicism, she was correct, and animals do not have souls, which has made me heartbroken all over again. Should I consult a religious adviser or continue believing I’ll see my cat again?

I have to think that people who have no friends or family but do have beloved pets will be reunited with them. Lots of times, our pets are the only family we have.

— Missing my Cat in Georgia

Dear Missing: Your friend was insensitive to deny you the comfort of believing your soul would be reunited with that of your beloved kitty. There are many religions, and not all of them subscribe to the same philosophies. If you need reassurance, discuss this with your own religious adviser who, I am sure, has had a similar conversation with many members of his flock.

P.S. My personal philosophy is that my soul will be reunited with any soul I wish once I have shed this earthly shell.

Dear Abby: I was asked to be the maid of honor in a friend’s wedding. I did not consider us to be close friends, but she has no sisters and few girlfriends. She seemed desperate and told me I was the only one who could fit this role, so I obliged.

Now it’s my turn to be the bride. I have other girlfriends I am closer to that I would like to ask to be my bridesmaids. I feel guilty for not returning the favor. She’s invited to the wedding, but I don’t want her to be in my wedding party. I also feel awkward having to tell her she isn’t as close to me as the other girlfriends I want. How do I let her down gently without hurting her feelings?

— Not Close in the West

Dear Not Close: Why are you feeling guilty? Having served as this woman’s maid of honor does not obligate you to have her be part of your own wedding. A way to “let her down gently” would be not to mention the subject at all. If she brings it up, explain that you invited her because you want her there to share in your happiness. Period.

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