Dear Abby: Dreading the funerals of estranged siblings

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been estranged from my three siblings, their spouses and their families for 35 years — my choice. There has been no correspondence, and I have seen them only at our parents’ funerals.

Since we are all in our 80s, I anticipate there will be funerals for us in the next decade. If I go first, there is no problem. However, I’m considering not attending their funerals or those of their spouses.

My grown children say I MUST attend because I’m their brother. I’m concerned that I might be a distraction or there could be a confrontation. Besides, I still remember what caused my estrangement and I just don’t want to see them.

I know I’m stubborn, but am I wrong? — TO GO OR NOT TO GO

DEAR GO OR NO: I disagree with your children. People attend funerals to pay their respects to the deceased and/or comfort the family who has suffered the loss. If, after 35 years, you show up at the funeral, you could, indeed, be a distraction — unless it has been so long that nobody recognizes you.

DEAR ABBY: Is it wrong to have no interest in grandchildren? My wife is five years older than I am and she’s elated with our new grandchild. I’m only 42 and I feel I’m too young to be a “Gramps.”

I prefer to be free from kid activities and enjoy my adult pursuits. I have raised children for the last 20-plus years and I think it’s my stepdaughter’s turn to be a parent. My wife is all gung-ho to watch the grandchild anytime she’s free, but I’m not interested at all.

Am I wrong for wanting my own time and space with my wife? — TOO YOUNG FOR IT IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR TOO YOUNG: No law says you must baby-sit if you don’t want to. Not everyone enjoys the company of small children. If your wife enjoys doing it, that’s her privilege.

However, if the baby-sitting is interfering with your marriage, then you’re complaining to the wrong woman, and the two of you need to work out a compromise on which you can both agree.

DEAR ABBY: I have very long hair and I’m proud of it. I have worn my hair long ever since I was a little girl. My problem is when I go somewhere, other women come up to me and start touching it.

I understand that they like my hair because they always compliment me on it, but I hate it when strangers touch me. Apparently, people have forgotten the concept of “personal space.”

How can I tell someone — without sounding rude — to please not touch me? Or must I just keep quiet and tolerate it with a smile? — RAPUNZEL IN DALLAS

DEAR RAPUNZEL: Not everyone enjoys being touched, particularly by strangers. If someone reaches out to pet you, smile, step back and say, “I’d prefer you not do that.”

You have a right to your personal space. As long as you say it in a pleasant but firm tone, no one has the right to be offended. And if someone is, refrain from making it your problem.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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