SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 14, 2012

Dear Abby: Wife alarmed that husband has planned his funeral

Dear Abby
The Salem News

---- — :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.

Dear 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 to ask a question or 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: You are asking an emotionally loaded question. 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 that 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.