Wife alarmed by hus­band’s funeral plan­ning

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. Email Dear Abby at www.dearabby.com.

Dear Abby: My hus­band and I have been mar­ried for seven years. Since our wed­ding, he has had in­creas­ing health prob­lems.

He re­cently told me that he planned his funeral three months ago, with­out say­ing a word to me. I am very con­cerned that he seems more fo­cused on death than on life. Am I wrong to be up­set? He says I am.

— Wife in Burling­ton, N.J

ear Wife: I don’t blame you for be­ing con­cerned be­cause hus­bands and wives should be able to dis­cuss im­por­tant topics with each other, and this is one of them.

When your hus­band has his next med­i­cal ap­point­ment, go with him so you can speak with his physi­cian. It’s pos­si­ble that be­cause of his “in­creas­ing health prob­lems” he has be­come de­pressed, and if that’s the case, his doc­tor should be told. It is al­ways help­ful for spouses to ac­com­pany each other to their med­i­cal ap­point­ments in case the pa­tient for­gets tell the doc­tor some­thing he or she needs to know. Dear Abby: My 24-year-old son, “Dustin,” moved out five years ago, but he ex­pects me to keep all his child­hood and col­lege items in his old bed­room be­cause he says he doesn’t have room for them in his apart­ment.

I’d like to clear out his closet and dresser and use the space for things I want to store. I need more space for me.

Dustin is call­ing me self­ish be­cause I want to change “his” room and move my stuff in there. I say I need the space, and if he wants to keep all his stuff, he should rent a stor­age locker. By the way, he sleeps here maybe five nights a year at most.

How long are par­ents ob­li­gated to keep their grown chil­dren’s keep­sakes?

— Wants My Space

Dear Wants Your Space:

While, ra­tio­nally, five years should be long enough, clear­ing “his” room in­stead of main­tain­ing it as a shrine may feel like aban­don­ment to your adult child.

Give Dustin a lit­tle more time to ad­just — like six months — and then in­sist that he find a place for his things. That way it will be a lit­tle less trau­matic. Dear Abby: Dur­ing th­ese hard times, may I tell you about my daugh­ter? Ev­ery year at Christ­mas, I let our chil­dren pick one present for around $30 for them­selves. They know that we don’t have a lot of money and that “Santa” brings only a few presents.

My daugh­ter chose to give her “Christ­mas money” to a char­ity so that an­other fam­ily can be blessed. She’s only 9, and she un­der­stands there are fam­i­lies who are in more need than us. She truly is an an­gel for re­mind­ing me of that.

I went to our lo­cal food pantry and told them what my daugh­ter wanted to do for Christ­mas. The di­rec­tor wrote her a let­ter of thanks and ex­plained how many fam­i­lies her $30 would be help­ing. I’m so proud of my girl. Some­times it takes a child to re­mind us how all of us should act. — Blessed in Illi­nois Dear Blessed: Yes, it’s true. But in­vari­ably it takes good par­ents to in­still a spirit of em­pa­thy and gen­eros­ity in their chil­dren. So some of the credit be­longs to you.

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