Dear Abby: She gets funeral bill after boyfriend dies

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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of 5 1/2 years died unexpectedly. Like so many other Americans, he didn’t have life insurance or any money to cover his funeral. For the last 2 1/2 years I provided the primary financial support when he came and lived with me.

His mother made the decisions about the casket and service. She asked that money instead of flowers be given to help pay for the cost of the funeral. Around $4,000 is still owed.She now says the remaining cost should be divided between her, her ex-husband and me.

I don’t think I should be obligated to assume a third of the funeral costs. If I had been married to him, the situation would be different. I have friends and family who agree with me and others who don’t.

If I tell his mother it isn’t my responsibility to pay, she and other family members may never speak to me again. What is your response to this scenario? — WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

DEAR WHO: This may seem negative, but of this I am positive: Even if you do pay a third of the funeral expenses, those people may turn away from you anyway. So do as your conscience dictates and nobody else.

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DEAR ABBY: It has been more than 30 years since I knew the whereabouts of my brother, my only sibling. Over the years, I have searched for him off and on, especially when there were major life events.

Both of our parents have died, with my mother cursing him at the end. My family believed he was probably dead since no one had heard from him, even to ask for money.

Yesterday, I Googled his name, and to my surprise his mug shot popped up. It appears he has been incarcerated for most of the 30 years and has a rap sheet a mile long. Nothing violent, just stealing.

I am saddened to have seen his photo this way and wonder why he never reached out to me. He has been alone, a criminal, for most of his life with no one to love or care about him.

My husband says don’t contact him, and I probably shouldn’t. I’d just like him to know that I have missed him and I am sad his life turned out this way.

Am I a fool to want to know this hardened criminal? I am justifiably afraid that he could be big trouble. Please advise. — SAD SISTER IN TEXAS

DEAR SAD SISTER: Your brother may have refrained from contacting the family because he was ashamed of the mess he had made of his life.

So let’s follow your question to its logical conclusion. You contact your incarcerated, career-criminal brother and tell him how sad you are that his life turned out this way. Then what? What will you do if he wants to correspond with you? If he wants money? If he needs a place to stay if he’s ever released?

Unless you are prepared to assume responsibility for someone you have had no contact with in decades, listen to your husband. You already have the information you were searching for, so don’t go looking for trouble — because your brother IS trouble.

DEAR READERS: It’s National Women’s Health Week, so here’s a gentle reminder to make your health a priority. Eat healthy, allow time for exercise, manage your stress levels, and schedule that appointment you’ve been putting off to see your doctor or dentist. Your most precious possession is your health, so please take care of it. For more information, visit womenshealth.gov. —LOVE, ABBY

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.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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