DEAR ABBY

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Dear Abby:

I am a counselor and never thought I'd need to write to Dear Abby, but this one has me stumped.

Two days before my 83-year-old mother died, Dad called her younger sister, "Aunt Betty," to let her know that Mom's death was imminent. During that conversation, Aunt Betty told him my mother had "run around" as a girl, caused problems for the family and had sex with several boys in her school. Dad was devastated at this news.

It is now a year and a half later, and Daddy is still depressed about this. He's very angry at Aunt Betty, and so am I. She did a terrible thing, revealing these secrets when her sister was literally on her deathbed. Aunt Betty justified it by saying "the truth" should come out.

I have tried to let this go, but I'm so angry at her that I think I should tell her how deeply her words have affected us. What do you think?

Resentful in Oregon

If I thought the scolding would do any good, I'd say go ahead, but I don't think it will. That your mother's sister would seek to tarnish her memory shows how jealous and resentful your aunt was of your mother. What makes you think it's true just because she said it? Your mother was a good wife and loving mother, and whatever might have happened before is unimportant. I recommend a hefty dose of amnesia: Forget your mother ever had a sister. Both you and your father will be happier.

Dear Abby:

My boyfriend and I are going head-to-head about whose name should appear first on letters, address labels, etc. We live together but are not engaged, and we send out cards as well as receive them from couples in similar circumstances.


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