DEAR ABBY: What do I send to someone who knows that he has only six weeks to live? My sister's father-in-law has liver cancer, and after a hard six-month battle, he is going to lose.
The family has established an open-door policy to come and say goodbye to him, but he is so beloved by so many people that they have started to turn people away. I want to say goodbye to him, but there are people closer to him who want to see him one last time.
I don't want to be tacky. I only want him to know how much he means to me, and that I'm not avoiding him in his final hours. Any advice would be appreciated. -- CHRISTINE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CHRISTINE: Send him a "thinking of you" card with a short note recalling a pleasant memory that you shared together. Tell him you love and admire him and are praying for him. Although he may be too ill to read, someone will read it to him.
DEAR ABBY: I am on the board of a religious institution. An unusual problem has come to my attention.
One of our most active members is extremely overweight. When he sits on our folding chairs and chapel chairs, he invariably bends them down, making them uncomfortable and almost unusable.
Abby, we can't afford to replace a chair each time he comes to church, but neither can we afford to offend a deeply religious brother. What can we do to resolve this problem? -- CHURCH ELDER
DEAR CHURCH ELDER: He's probably just as uncomfortable sitting in those chairs as you are watching him. Go to a Goodwill, Salvation Army or other thrift store and get him an armchair. (He'll most likely thank you for it.) Or consider labeling one chair as his only and make sure he always sits in the same one.
DEAR ABBY: I couldn't resist responding to the letter from "Snapping Away," who wanted people to give her film because she always takes pictures and gives everyone copies. We have a snap-happy person in our family, too. She always has a camera handy. Other family members have cameras and would like to take pictures once in a while, but after Snap Happy has tested everyone's patience with, "One, two, three, look at me, I'm taking your picture," the other cameras are usually left in their cases.
This constant picture-taking has brought groans of mild protest from the family, but since she loves to take pictures, keep photo albums and share prints, we humor her.
Our Snap Happy is 80 years old, legally blind, can't see what she is taking a picture of or see the prints, but we are still lining up while she happily snaps away.
Picture-happy people don't realize there is no polite way to refuse the pictures they are giving away. If someone requests that pictures be taken and prints given to them, then reimbursement is in order, but those who don't necessarily want the pictures don't owe her. These photographers should pass prints around and let those who want them write their names on the back so she (or he) will know who wants what. Then those who want pictures can pay their share of the expenses. -- STILL SMILING FOR OUR SNAP HAPPY IN ARKANSAS
DEAR STILL SMILING: That seems fair to me. Thank you for commenting on that letter from a different perspective.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600