DEAR ABBY: After reading the comments in your column about junk mail, I had to share my experience with you. It all started in Vancouver, where my wife ordered a sweater for me from the landlady who ran the bed and breakfast inn where we were staying. The landlady wanted to be paid only for the yarn, not her time. She suggested we give what we felt it was worth to our favorite charity.
When we received the sweater at home in Pennsylvania two months later, my wife sent a check to the landlady and asked her to put her favorite charity on the check. Soon my wife was getting pelted with financial support letters from Jimmy Swaggart's ministry. Finally, I wrote "DECEASED" on one of the solicitations and returned it. Presto! She no longer got mail from Jimmy Swaggart.
My brother-in-law, a doctor in Miami, heard how I got rid of my "junk mail" and put "deceased" on all of his junk mail and returned it to sender. A few weeks later, he realized that he was not receiving important mail that he was expecting. He then found out that his postman had seen "deceased" on his mail and, assuming that he was indeed dead, had put "deceased" on his first-class mail and sent it back, too. My brother-in-law then discovered that he'd been mourned by his Harvard classmates and was no longer a member of some of his clubs and associations.
His remark to me was, "The next time you get a smart idea, don't tell me about it!" -- AN ABBY FAN IN LAKE WALES, FLA.
P.S. About 30 years ago, I wrote you about my wife not being interested in sex. You suggested we see a sex therapist, only we couldn't afford to go because I was starting a new business. This year, when things went from bad to worse, we started going to a therapist -- and we wished we had taken your advice years ago!
DEAR FAN IN LAKE WALES: Better late than never.
DEAR ABBY: I have never written to you before, but I read the letter from "Wondering in Missouri," about the lady who wanted to know if she should give her children things that were special to her before she passed away. Yes, yes, yes -- please do!
My mom died earlier this year and none of her wishes were obeyed. For years and years, she had been telling everyone the things that she wanted her children and grandchildren to have. Well, after she was gone, her husband ignored her wishes, refused to pay one cent for the funeral, and treated us worse than anyone could ever begin to imagine. He kept everything she wanted her loved ones to have.
I and her granddaughters are devastated. We not only have to live every single day with the grief of losing her, but we have nothing of hers that she wanted us to have. Mother would be so very sad.
Her husband destroyed her will and did not even give us the courtesy of seeing her last words. So, if you have loved ones who are special to you -- then please, please give them the things that you want them to have before you die. We can't even get a lawyer to try and fight this injustice because we can't afford it. My heart is broken. -- BROKENHEARTED IN OREGON
DEAR BROKENHEARTED: I have often said, "Do your giving while you're living, and you'll be knowing where it's going."
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