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by Abigail Van Buren

Ashes of Loved Ones Rest in Peace in Many Homes

DEAR READERS: When I recently asked to hear from people who kept the ashes of their loved ones, I had no inkling of the blizzard of letters that would hit my desk. It seems I was right when I said the practice was not all that unusual. Read on for a sample:

DEAR ABBY: My husband was a wonderful man. When he died, I was too old to drive to the cemetery, and I knew I couldn't care for his grave, so I had him cremated and kept the ashes. However, I do not keep them displayed. They are kept in my bedroom, and every time I dust, I tell him how much I miss him. I am alone now, but happy at 77 years old. -- MARIA IN RENO, NEV.

DEAR ABBY: My mother died this past June. My father, brother and I had her cremated. Her ashes are in a nice wooden box with a gold plaque stating her date of birth, etc. My grandmother (Mom's mother) was upset because she wanted Mom to be buried in New Jersey with the family. My father suggested that my mother's ashes be buried with my grandmother when her time comes. She loved the idea. For now, though, Mom is on the mantel, and no, we don't think it's strange at all. -- SUSAN IN PRINCE GEORGE, VA.

DEAR ABBY: My son died in 1993. He wanted to be cremated. I have his ashes in a nice urn in a private corner of my house. When the time comes, my husband will have this urn placed in my coffin with me. It will be done at the last closing, so the public will not see. -- ASHES IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR ABBY: I displayed the ashes of my late husband in a beautiful Chinese urn on the coffee table. Only a select few knew the contents of the urn, among them a man I had begun to seriously date. Rather than being bothered by it, he said he loved anyone who had loved me. And in keeping with that generosity of spirit, when he asked me to marry him, he toasted me by first clinking my wine glass, and then leaning forward to clink the urn. When it comes to love, I am twice blessed. -- J.R. IN BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: I have had my lovely wife's ashes in my home for two years and 10 months. I'm proud to have them with me. I talk to her ashes and say good morning and good night to them each day. I also kiss her picture when I get up and when I go to bed. I see nothing wrong with this. I miss her so much, and sometimes this helps. We were married 47 years. Anyone who tells me to get rid of the ashes can take a hike! -- ASHES IN BATH, PA.

DEAR ABBY: We are a military family and don't plan to stay in this area. Four months ago, our 2 1/2-year-old son died after a 19-month battle with kidney tumors. The idea of burying him and later leaving him here was unthinkable, so we chose to have him cremated. Because we wanted to make his urn personal, but didn't have much money, we used a bronze box urn and placed it inside a large Winnie-the-Pooh, Joshua's favorite cartoon character, that now sits on Joshua's bed.

Keeping our son's ashes in the house doesn't mean we can't love our other children (No. 2 is due in four months). Likewise, the widow probably still loves her late husband, but that doesn't mean she can't also love the man who wrote to you. He should respect the relationship she once had and not be so threatened. -- ERIN IN TUSTIN, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: When my husband balks at doing his household chores, I threaten to put his ashes in an hourglass and keep him working for eternity. I might very well do it, too! -- ELSE MILLER, WILMINGTON, DEL.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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