DEAR ABBY: Do I have a right to be angry with my late mother's best friend? (I'll call her "Mary.")
Mother passed away less than a month ago from cancer. She left all her worldly possessions to me, her only daughter. I have three older brothers. We are very close and I intend to share Mother's things with them and their wives. We have never bickered over material things.
Three weeks after Mother's death, Mary and her husband, "John," visited my father at home. Over coffee, Mary asked Dad if he would return a piece of jewelry that she had given to Mom. Dad replied, "Of course, take anything you need," meaning anything of Mary's. I hadn't even sorted Mom's clothes and jewelry yet. Mary helped herself to two necklaces, four pairs of earrings, a wristwatch and my mother's birthstone ring. She had even helped herself to a pair of earrings that Mom and I had made together in a jewelry class. She hadn't given any of those items to Mother.
Mary also reorganized all the jewelry and moved it from one drawer to another. I was livid. However, I politely told Mary she could keep whatever she had given Mom, but she should please return the other items. (How could she think she came before her friend's children?)
Now, Mary is pouting. She acts like I'm a spoiled, selfish person because I made her return the items.
Abby, this "friend" would cry while Mom was sick, and say she couldn't deal with seeing her when she was in the hospital. She cried loudest and hardest at Mother's funeral. I don't understand her insensitivity.
Should I confront her, since she's acting like I'm the selfish one, and explain why I thought her actions were inappropriate? -- ALICE IN FLORIDA
DEAR ALICE: Since the jewelry was returned, I see nothing to be gained by confronting her. Her behavior was inconsiderate. However, it's possible that she misunderstood your father when he told her to take anything she needed. Give her the benefit of the doubt and try not to nurse a grudge.
DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, I did something that I consider "standing up for the little guy." My husband thinks what I did was out of line. Here's the story:
Mom and I went shopping at a mall where there happens to be only one public telephone. We needed to use it, so we waited patiently in line for about five minutes. It appeared that the caller was bored and just "chewing the fat" with a friend to pass the time. Mom left the mall to find another phone, but I stayed in line to indicate that I needed to make a call.
After a few more minutes, the man turned to me and told me he'd be on the phone for another 15 minutes or so. I told him that he should not tie up a public phone that long. He grunted and continued his phone conversation.
I moved out of sight and enlisted the help of six high school boys. They distracted him while I reached around and clicked down the receiver button to cut off his call. Then I ran.
Abby, I am 30 years old and had never done anything like that before, but I was proud of myself for standing up to someone I considered an arrogant jerk.
Was I out of line? -- ONE FOR THE LITTLE GUYS
DEAR ONE: Yes. Your behavior was both rude and immature.
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