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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a registered nurse employed in a hospital. My daughter passed away in December from breast cancer. I worked up until two weeks prior to my daughter's death.

During that time, I made no mention to my co-workers about my daughter's grave condition. It was just too sad. Three weeks before my daughter died, my supervisor called me into her office and told me I had a "bad attitude."

I admit that I had kept my feelings to myself, and of course my demeanor reflected a sad expression, but my attitude was never "bad." I quickly responded to my supervisor, in my defense, that my daughter was dying and asked her how I was supposed to act. She told me there were other nurses who had gravely ill children, but they didn't behave the way I did. I replied that she should walk a mile in my shoes. She reiterated that I had a "bad attitude." I responded that since she seemed to be such an authority on behavior and dying children, perhaps she could enlighten me on how to "act" -- because I really didn't know.

I have since returned to work, and I now have a strong dislike for this person. I see her daily, and she has the nerve to speak to me after that unpleasant encounter. Abby, how do I get past this? She has apologized for her comments, but the damage has already been done. -- FURIOUS R.N. IN THE NORTHEAST

DEAR FURIOUS: It's unfortunate that your behavior was misunderstood, but since your colleagues had no way of knowing what you were going through at the time, your supervisor was only doing her job.

Please accept her apology and find it in your heart to forgive her. If you cannot, professional counseling to help you rechannel your grief and anger may be in order. Life is too precious to harbor resentments.




DEAR ABBY: I'm writing about your response to "Disappointed in Seattle" regarding security in marriage. You above all should know that marriage does not necessarily mean security. You have printed enough letters from victims of marriages to have responded differently.

Abby, there are con-men, gamblers, alcoholics, abusers, and people who just abandon mates and children. Finding security in marriage is like catching a feather in the wind -- some catch it, most don't, no matter how hard they try.

Want security? Get your own job, open a bank account, and earn some self-esteem and confidence. Don't rely on someone else for your security. -- JOAN C. IN BAY SHORE, N.Y.

DEAR JOAN: While I agree that a marriage certificate is not a one-way ticket to easy street, the kind of security to which I was referring were rights of inheritance and, should illness strike, the authority to instruct doctors about each other's wishes.




DEAR ABBY: This is just for you: Do you know the difference between a sewing machine and a kiss? A sewing machine sews nice seams, but a kiss seems so nice!

You can credit my sweet, late mother, Tillie M. Brehl, with that one. -- ILENE R., BEXLEY, OHIO

DEAR ILENE: Many thanks for the witty ditty. Your mother was a sweetheart, and so are you.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600