When to bury father's ashes causes family flare-up

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My father died eight years ago. Mother couldn’t afford to bury him at the time, so he was cremated. Mom asked me to keep his ashes until her time was up so they could be buried together.

I have had them ever since. It makes me feel like he is still with me, that I have not totally lost him. However, over the last year, my brothers and sisters have led my mother to believe that I won’t respect her wishes to have them buried together when the time comes. She is pressuring me to bury him NOW. It hurts me that my family could even think I would take that away from my mother.

To this day, my siblings say mean things about Dad, claiming he was a “terrible” father and husband. I’m a lot younger than the rest of them, so it’s possible I never saw the bad side of him. The father I knew was a caring, loving man, and it drives me crazy to hear my siblings speak ill of him. They don’t remember his birthday, the date of his death or even how long ago it was.

Abby, I don’t know what to do. If I go ahead and bury my dad’s ashes now, I feel I will be losing him completely. Please help me. I feel so lost. — SAD AND MISUNDERSTOOD DAUGHTER

DEAR DAUGHTER: Perhaps there is a way to satisfy everybody. Before returning your father’s ashes to your mother and siblings for burial, take a small portion to keep for yourself. Your feelings are not all that unusual — and contrary to popular belief, not all ashes are scattered or buried. Sometimes they are retained for decades by family members who are not yet ready to part with them.


DEAR ABBY: About a year ago, I began a part-time job for extra cash. My manager and I developed an attraction for each other that soon led to a sexual relationship. The problem is that he’s married with two children, and he is significantly older than me.

I know now that this has to end. I have no emotional ties to him, but I think he is starting to care for me. I can’t quit the job because a family member got it for me, and it would seem suspicious if I quit.

Please respond soon because I am trying desperately to avoid being alone with him, and it’s becoming more and more difficult. How do I end the affair and remain on decent terms with this man? — NEEDS A QUICK OUT

DEAR NEEDS: It’s difficult to remain on decent terms after there has been indecent exposure, but tell your manager your conscience demands that the hanky-panky stop. Then, if he tries to get you alone, tell him, “Nothing doing — I’ve turned over a new leaf.”

I’m sure he’ll find a way to handle the rejection. If it breaks his heart, he can seek comfort from his wife, from whom he shouldn’t have strayed in the first place.


DEAR ABBY: I’m going into junior high. I’m a straight-A student and get my homework and projects done. But I’m not that organized. I always put my assignments away, but when I need them, they’re never there!

My mom complains to me about it and calls me a troll. My room isn’t so hot, either. What can I do? — THE TROLL IN ST. PETE

DEAR TROLL: The time to get organized is now. Begin by cleaning your room and making sure you have a study area that is not messy. After that, you should always put your projects and completed assignments in ONE SPOT, and they won’t be lost. You’ll be able to find them easily once you have only one place to look.

Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips. The column was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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