DEAR ABBY: My dad died in April after a brief illness. Before he passed, my stepmother encouraged him to donate his body to science because she is to be buried with her first husband, and she didn’t want the expense of burying Dad.
I went to pick up my father’s ashes as she requested. When I got there, she invited me into her bedroom to see that she had made a shrine to her first husband, who had died three years before she and Dad were married. The one photo she had of Dad was 2 inches by 3 inches and was the one from his memorial invitation.
With a broken heart I made my way to the door. Abby, she was married to my dad for 30 years. He supported her, took care of her and worked to the age of 75 to keep her happy — and that was a task!
As I reached the front door, I remembered what I was there for in the first place: my dad’s ashes. They were still in the UPS wrap, in a bench that he kept his shoes and boots in by the door. Seriously, who does that? — Grieving Daughter in New York
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DEAR GRIEVING DAUGHTER: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. Unless he spent the entire 30 years of his marriage sharing his bedroom with the shrine to your stepmother’s first husband, inviting you in to see it was beyond insensitive on her part.
The only bright side I can see to this is that you’re now in possession of your beloved father’s ashes, and you will probably never have to see her again.
Concerned about sleepover safety
DEAR ABBY: I am the father of an 8-year-old daughter, “Lindsey.” She is my world. Her mom and I split when Lindsey was 2. She has remarried. We are all civil, and things are good.
Lindsey is getting to the age in which sleepovers at friends’ houses are happening, which is fine because I know a few of them and their parents. I’m worried about the fathers or older brothers of the ones I don’t know. How do you ask or tell an 8-year-old about the dangers of pedophiles without scaring her? This is my biggest fear. — Dad in Louisiana
DEAR DAD: I assume that, as a conscientious parent, you are not sending your little girl off to stay with complete strangers. Make it a point to meet and talk with the parents of the girls who are having the sleepovers. If that’s not possible, your ex should do it so you can both be assured that the party will be properly supervised.
You should also make sure your daughter knows that she can talk to you anytime about ANYTHING and you will listen, answer her questions and support her.
I assume that Lindsey’s mother has already started the dialogue about the facts of life. Talk to your ex about your concerns and ask what she has discussed with Lindsey about boundaries, inappropriate touching and that Lindsey knows she can come to either of you if anyone makes her uncomfortable. The most effective way to protect a child is to ensure that there is open, comfortable communication on any subject.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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