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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Seeks Words to Comfort Parents in Times of Trouble

DEAR ABBY: I am 15, and have never been very close to my parents. In fact, I haven't lived with them since I was a baby -- they were too young to raise me. They've always been "around," but they feel more like an aunt and uncle than my parents.

They are both going through a rough time. My father is going through a divorce, and my mother just found out that she has cancer. I don't know what to say to them. I love them both. The thing that scares me the most is that it doesn't faze me about the cancer. What is wrong with me? -- DISCONNECTED IN ARKANSAS

DEAR DISCONNECTED: There is nothing "wrong" with you. When someone close is diagnosed with a possible life-threatening illness, denial is a common reaction.

As to what to say to your parents during this difficult time -- no fancy speeches are necessary. No one expects you to solve the problems or make the pain go away. Just tell your parents you love them. That's all they need to hear.

DEAR ABBY: I have some dear friends whose daughter was married last March. The wedding, which I attended, was held in their home state. I also sent a very nice gift.

I have never received a thank-you note from this young woman, and I know of at least one other person who hasn't either. Should I just forget it -- or is it permissible to bring this subject up with her parents, my dear friends? It's possible they do not know how absolutely awful their daughter's manners are. We have been friends for more than 25 years. -- FUMING IN RIDGEFIELD, N.J.

DEAR FUMING: Everyone would be better served if you discussed this with the young woman instead of tattling to her parents. I see nothing to be gained by embarrassing and upsetting them. If they are the kind of people who have been dear friends of yours for 25 years, they certainly are familiar with the social graces. It's a pity they didn't rub off on their daughter.

DEAR ABBY: I am a professional truck driver. The recent letter from "A Fitness Cyclist for 40 Years" inspired me to explain to the public why truck drivers do certain things on the road.

We change from one lane to another to avoid a vehicle that has broken down, a police officer stopped on the side of the road or a cyclist. People do not realize the draft from a large truck could pull a cyclist toward the trailer and under the wheels. Please, drivers, do not try to pass us on the right when we change lanes. Wait until we return to our lane.

Also, when it's raining, please turn your headlights on so we can see you. And please don't race to get ahead of us at an off-ramp.

People may not like trucks on the road, Abby, but remember -- the only thing not delivered by a truck is a baby! -- MIKE MILBURN, PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA.

DEAR MIKE: Thank you for your important tips. Trucks are vital pipelines in our healthy economy. I have received many letters from readers wanting to thank truck drivers for their assistance in road emergencies. Truck drivers are some of the most courteous and safest drivers on our highways. Keep up the good work.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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