Dear Abby: They ignored my dad but now want his stuff

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DEAR ABBY: After my mom passed away, my dad lived alone for three years until his death. During those three years, Mom’s family not once made contact with him or me. Dad lived in a very small town. When he would see Mom’s sister and her husband out and about in restaurants and stores, they would ignore him.

After Dad’s death, my aunt contacted me asking if she could have a rocking chair that belonged to my mother. I agreed they could have it. To my shock, when my uncle arrived to pick up the chair, he began asking me about my dad’s belongings. He wanted to look through Dad’s tools and such.

After making no attempt to contact Dad while he was alive, now that he’s gone, my uncle had the nerve to ask to look through Dad’s things?! I politely shut him down.

Since then, my aunt has been bad-mouthing me all over town, telling everyone “I dropped them” and “don’t want anything to do with them.” I suppose that’s true under the circumstances, but what should I say to set the record straight without appearing as the bad guy? — “ORPHAN” IN THE SOUTH

DEAR ORPHAN: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your parents, and the uncomfortable situation in which you now find yourself.

Memorize the first paragraph of your letter to me and recite it verbatim when the subject of your relationship with your aunt and uncle comes up. Because it’s a small town, the message will spread quickly, and you won’t have to repeat it often.

DEAR ABBY: My youngest sister started dating a man and they quickly moved in together. Six months into their relationship she got pregnant and they got engaged. Their wedding is planned for this summer.

Recently she discovered he has been video-chatting with someone he met online. He admitted to flirting, apologized and promised that was the end of it. I have a strong suspicion that there have been other “situations” my sister is unaware of.

Should I express my concerns to her and suggest postponing the wedding? Or should I keep my gut feelings to myself? I’m afraid she will get married and then find out what’s really going on. — BIG SISTER IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR BIG SISTER: Be honest with your sister. Although I suspect that your gut feelings are accurate, whether she will believe it is debatable, but at least she will have been warned.

If she does decide to stay with him, refrain from any “I told you so’s.” Recognize that whether she marries her fiance or not, she will forever be linked with him because of the baby.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I want to go to Europe this summer, but we don’t want to take his mother along. We have taken her on two holidays over the last two years and didn’t enjoy either one for various reasons.

She now expects to go with us on our international vacations, and we don’t know how to tell her we prefer to go alone. Please help. — HOLIDAY FOR TWO

DEAR HOLIDAY: What your husband should say to his mother is, “Mom, my wife and I will be going to __________ for a few weeks in early August. We need an ‘adventure’ alone together, so we will not be asking you to join us.” Period!

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 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 $8 (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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