06/16/2007DEAR ABBY: I have a 25-year-old sister, "Sheila," who has three beautiful children. The problem is, she does not care about herself, her kids or her family.
My mother has raised Sheila's oldest off and on since he was 8 months old. He is now 9. Sheila constantly yells, "I can't stand him! He makes me sick!" She has even gone so far as telling the boy she hates him. I have tried telling her that he is only a child. I tell her God blessed her with the ability to have children, and she should be thankful she has them. She just tunes me out.
Add to that the fact that Sheila beats our mother at times. Our stepdad died last year, and a week after the funeral my sister came in and beat up Mother.
I don't know what's going on, and the family is scared to confront her anymore because she gets really mean. Any help would be appreciated. -- CONCERNED SISTER IN KENTUCKY
DEAR CONCERNED SISTER: Sheila could be mentally ill, drug-addicted or a rage-a-holic. If she would raise a hand to her mother, what might she be doing to her children? From your description of your sister's state of mind, it is possible that all the children should be removed from the home. Child Protective Services can make a determination. And if she raises a hand to your mother one more time, the police should be summoned immediately.
DEAR ABBY: I moved to Texas two years ago and met a guy there. We dated for a year, but I was never that interested in him.
I have recently moved back to California and have met someone now who I am very much in love with. I sent my "ex" an e-mail, telling him that I do not want to be with him anymore, but he thinks I am joking. I have been getting e-mails and calls from him nonstop every day since I sent the e-mail. I cannot ignore him anymore. How do I tell him to leave me alone? -- BECOMING UNEASY IN EAST PALO ALTO, CALIF.
DEAR BECOMING UNEASY: You did not say how long you have been involved with the "someone new," but if you recently returned to California, it cannot have been very long. Perhaps that is why your "ex" is having trouble believing it.
Write this "guy" one more e-mail. Tell him again that you are no longer interested in him, that you are now involved with someone else and that you want no more communication. If he persists, block his e-mails and change your phone number if necessary.
DEAR ABBY: My father-in-law has recently requested that when he dies, he be cremated and his ashes divided between his two daughters. My wife is his oldest, and she is not sure what to do. She loves her father very much, but feels that his ashes are just "ashes." She says it is his soul or spirit that makes him who he is, so she is reluctant to keep them. But she is uncomfortable about ignoring his wishes. What should we do? -- FRETTING IN FORT SMITH, ARK.
DEAR FRETTING: When something is "bequeathed," it is a gift. And when a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient to do with as she wishes. Your wife is under no obligation to hang onto her father's ashes in perpetuity. If she prefers to scatter them, have them interred or made into a piece of art or jewelry, the choice is hers. She should listen to her heart. It will tell her what to do when the time comes.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)