DEAR ABBY: I am a 58-year-old female. My mother passed away in my home almost exactly a year ago. I took care of her for the last three years of her life. After she died, my brother and his wife came to my home at 1:30 p.m. The funeral home didn't arrive to pick her up until 8:30 that night.
Later that evening, after my mom was gone and my brother and his wife left, my daughter came to me and announced that my sister-in-law had secretly taken pictures of Mom in the body bag on the stretcher as she was being wheeled out of my home. She didn't know that my daughter had seen her.
I am furious, horrified and hurt beyond description! My mother always liked to look nice and made a special effort to look good for a picture. The coroner had told me to go into another room when they were taking her because he said I wouldn't want that as my last memory of her.
I have never said anything to my sister-in-law, but I can't seem to let this go. It's killing me. Am I overreacting? Please, I need your advice. -- MISSING MOM
DEAR MISSING MOM: I am truly sorry for your loss, but you may be overreacting. Not everyone grieves in the same way, and similarly, not everyone feels the same way about taking pictures of deceased loved ones. During Victorian times the practice was quite common.
I don't know why your sister-in-law felt compelled to take the photos, but it could have been a gesture of love and respect. If you want to know why she did it, you should calmly ask her and let her explain.
DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing my boyfriend for about a year. He's three years younger than I am, which hasn't been an issue for us. However, recently, because of work scheduling, I have been waiting at his house until he comes home and spending more time with his father.
I am extremely ashamed that I have developed feelings for his dad. His dad has a girlfriend. I am aware this is inappropriate, but I am not sure how to handle this. -- ANONYMOUS IN ILLINOIS
DEAR ANONYMOUS: The way to "handle it" is to accept that your boyfriend's father has a girlfriend and is probably not looking for anything extracurricular. And further, if anything should develop, recognize that it would not only devastate your boyfriend, but would also probably destroy his relationship with his father.
DEAR READERS: In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we remember today: "To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough, and morality enough, to cut off the chain of hate."