Dear Abby: Widow leaves man’s siblings out of his memorial service

As the man was dying, he asked his brother to keep his wife and their children in the family, but she doesn’t seem interested.

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DEAR ABBY: I am one of six adult siblings. Our youngest brother, “Clark,” died of cancer five years ago. He was my best friend. As kids, we did everything together, and we remained close as we got older. As he was dying, Clark asked me to keep his wife, “Liz,” and his children in the family. I have tried my best.

Every year, I have a large family Christmas party. Liz and her children attend and seem to have a good time. I call or text her monthly, but I rarely receive a reply. She did text me happy birthday. I was OK with this until I heard from my nephew (Clark’s son) that there was a memorial service for him. When I asked him who was there, he said everybody. It really hurt because I wasn’t informed, nor were any of my siblings.

I want to respect Clark’s wishes, but even before this, Liz didn’t seem to respect my nuclear family. I don’t know what to do going forward because I have such sad and angry feelings over not being invited to his memorial. — CONFLICTED SIS IN THE EAST

DEAR SIS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your brother. What you should do is call your former sister-in-law and ask her WHY you and your siblings were excluded from the memorial, which is a shocking oversight. Then, if her apology is not satisfactory, consider yourself relieved of that deathbed promise, which clearly hasn’t been appreciated.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently in a restaurant with a friend who is deaf. (I can hear.) We were using American Sign Language to communicate. A group walked past us, saw we were using sign language and assumed neither of us could hear. One of them told her friends we were deaf and dumb. When the server came to my table to take our order and they realized I could hear, they were visibly surprised.

The speaker did not appear to be embarrassed by what she had said. The woman’s back was turned to my friend, so my friend was unaware of it. (Thank heavens, because my friend can read lips.) I didn’t say anything at the time and let it go.

Should I have? I didn’t because their table was near ours, and I was afraid the woman would have gotten ruder and made the whole dining experience bad. Should I have said something to the manager or server and sat at another table? If the manager had said something to her, I doubt she would have admitted what she said. — NOT RIGHT IN OHIO

DEAR NOT RIGHT: You were right not to challenge the woman who said that. If she wasn’t embarrassed when it turned out you could hear clearly, little you could say would have shamed her. There was nothing the restaurant manager could do about this woman’s breach of etiquette. You, however, could have asked to change your table if you were no longer comfortable seated next to that party.

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.

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