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by Abigail Van Buren

Generous Father Heads Up a Family Full of Ingrates

DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, my father buried his sister as she instructed in her will. Her son (my cousin) now complains to my father that there is no marker on his mother's grave.

As long as I can remember, my father's relatives have expected him to be the "godfather" to all of them. He buried his parents with no financial help from his eight brothers and sisters. He also paid for a lovely headstone for his grandparents' graves. His siblings complained that it wasn't fancy enough.

My father has paid for new cars, home repairs, etc., for this brother or that sister, but the only time they call him is to ask for more money. Most of them earn more than he does, but they blow their money on gambling or drinking.

My mother finally divorced Dad because his generosity has enabled his dysfunctional family to continue their wasteful ways. Father is in complete denial, but believe me, Mom was right. Dad made his wife and children do without, while never questioning his siblings' constant requests for money.

I say, if my drug-addicted cousin wants the Taj Mahal on his mother's grave, he should arrange for it and pay for it himself.

Despite my father's generosity to those who don't appreciate it, I still love him. I'm just fed up with relatives who have no conscience about spending the nest egg that was meant to take care of him in his retirement. Sign me ... TIRED OF BEING THE GODFATHER'S DAUGHTER

DEAR TIRED: Until your father finds the courage to say no to these moochers, they'll continue to regard him as a soft touch. I maintain: If someone takes advantage of you once, shame on him. If he takes advantage of you twice, shame on you.

I sympathize with your feelings, but it's your father's money and how he spends it is his decision. You can bet that he gets much gratification out of being the provider and the symbolic head of the family.