Los Angeles Times

Obit leaves out first wife

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: My father recently died. I am the child of his first wife. He also had a child with his second wife, to whom he was married for 50 years.

My half-brother “Gerald” and I get along fine. Our father’s obituary was written so that it sounded like his second wife was his only wife, with no mention of my mother.

Dad was prominent in his field, and his Wikipedia entry also makes no mention of his marriage to my mother.

My name and my children’s names are acknowledg­ed, but the implicatio­n is that I am the child of his second wife. My mom never got over my father’s infidelity and desertion.

Should I say something to my brother to change this so that my mother is acknowledg­ed in his history? Should obituaries and biographie­s be truthful about exes?

I lived my life tiptoeing around the animosity between my parents, and I wish this sad saga to be over. Loving but Sad


Dear Loving: Many obituaries are actually “death notices,” written by family members and/or funeral homes.

Strictly speaking, obituaries are written by journalist­s and are published in newspapers and magazines. Obituaries attempt to tell the story of a person’s life, and yes, they should be factually correct.

If Gerald wrote the notice, then he omitted your mother’s name purposely and incorrectl­y, as family members sometimes do. He might have done so to protect his own mother’s feelings or reputation.

Whoever composed your father’s Wikipedia page might have used the death notice as a source, incorrectl­y leaving out your mother’s name. Biographie­s and Wikipedia entries should be factually correct.

This Wikipedia entry should be revised. You could edit it yourself, and you should let your brother know that you are concerned that informatio­n about your father’s life is not only incorrect but also hurtful to you because it erases your mother’s identity and creates a false impression regarding your own identity.

Unfortunat­ely, the longstandi­ng dynamic in your family is not likely to end, even with your father’s death. But maybe it is time for you to stop tiptoeing.

Dear Amy: I think it is time for pet owners to take a good, long look at their beliefs and behavior and give non-pet people a break.

My mother and uncle struggled with allergies to animals. When I saw similar problems beginning with me, I promised myself I would never have pets. My health is better as a result.

Please stop regarding me as unfriendly because I do not want to pet your dog or cat or have your bird perch on me, whether or not allergies are a factor.

Please leave your pets at home when you stop in to see me. Please stop telling me that volunteeri­ng at the shelter would change my mind.

No Vet Bills

Dear No Vet: I understand why people see their pets as “family members,” but some humans use this as an excuse for every single choice regarding their pets.

Family members need limits. Allergies are not the only reason some humans don’t want to be around animals, and pet stewards should respect other peoples’ choices.

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