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Dear Abby: Dad wants nephew's death kept secret from kids
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Dear Abby

Dear Abby: Dad wants nephew's death kept secret from kids

DEAR ABBY: My husband's nephew passed away last week. He was only 26, and it was a complete shock. No one realized he was using drugs. My husband is attending the funeral (a nine-hour drive) and will be gone for four days. We have two children, ages 7 and 9, and because of the pandemic, we've decided I will stay home with them.

I'm writing to you because my husband doesn't want to tell our kids that their cousin has died -- ever. We don't see his family often -- maybe once every few years -- but the kids remember their cousin, and I'm sure they will ask about him next time we visit.

I think we need to tell them, but he is adamant they never know. Should I fill them in while he's gone or wait until he's ready to break the news? -- FORTHCOMING IN MAINE

DEAR FORTHCOMING: I do not recommend going behind your husband's back with a parenting decision like this one. He may be trying to shield the children from the reality that not only old people but also young people are mortal.

When he returns, approach the kids together, and in an age-appropriate manner, explain to them separately what happened. Many young people experiment with drugs because they think that addiction and death won't happen to them. Knowing what happened to their cousin could ensure it won't happen to either of them.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a guy for a year and a half. We don't live together. During the pandemic, his regular job shut down. He finally got another job and bought lawn equipment to keep in my shed.

His behavior has changed, Abby. I haven't heard from him in weeks. He says men don't call women anymore, and if I want to talk to him, I should call him. -- NOT RIGHT IN THE EAST

DEAR NOT RIGHT: When someone's behavior suddenly changes, there is usually a reason. 

Call him and ask him if his feelings for you have changed. It may be that he is depressed. It may also be he now has a job and is busy. That he becomes irritated when you have tried to raise the subject tells me he is defensive. And that's a red flag.

DEAR ABBY: Is it OK for 70-year-olds to get engaged? Both of us are widowed after long marriages. My wife died two years ago. Her husband passed more than three years ago. I am 77, and she is 75. We are both active and feel lucky to have found love again. We have been a couple for seven months now. 

Also, how long should we be engaged? Could we announce an engagement without setting a wedding date? Should I give her an engagement ring? I am not experienced. My last engagement was in 1961. That marriage lasted 56 years. -- IN THE DARK IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR IN THE DARK: I assume you and this lady are already discussing marriage. While you are doing that, ask her if she would like a ring and whether she would like to join you in selecting one or would prefer to be "surprised." You can announce an engagement without mentioning a wedding date, but because you have been a couple for only seven months, consider formalizing your union on the anniversary of your first meeting.

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DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law "Brenda" often takes it upon herself to change a baby's diaper during social gatherings with family. She never bothers to ask the baby's parents if it's OK to do this, and they never solicit her help. For years, I found it a bit strange, but never said anything to Brenda or another family member.

DEAR ABBY: My older sister, "Olive," moved to the West Coast three years ago. My parents, my two older siblings and I live on the East Coast. During this past year, Olive has grown more and more distant from us. She always has an excuse when we try to set up a group Facetime or even a phone call. This has happened dozens of times now.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 22-year-old woman who was adopted. I recently started dating an amazing man who happens to be of another race. My parents, whom I love very much, told me that if I stay with him, they will disown me. They have made many horrible comments about my relationship, and I'm at a loss about what to do. I love them, but I also love my boyfriend. Please give me advice. What should I do? -- HOPELESS IN INDIANA

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 22-year-old woman who was adopted. I recently started dating an amazing man who happens to be of another race. My parents, whom I love very much, told me that if I stay with him, they will disown me. They have made many horrible comments about my relationship, and I'm at a loss about what to do. I love them, but I also love my boyfriend. Please give me advice. What should I do? -- HOPELESS IN INDIANA

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together since we were 21, and he has always had a distant relationship with his parents. I encouraged him during the first few years of our marriage to call them and visit. I stopped doing that after his mom and I had some choice words.

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