DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away unexpectedly last year, following a cerebral hemorrhage and weeklong coma.
My wife and I have a 10-year-old daughter and a son who is 5. At my wife's request, our children did not attend the funeral or unveiling (we are Jewish). She thought it would be inappropriate to subject them to events they would not understand.
I agree somewhat, but only in regard to my little boy, since he's only 5 and doesn't understand much about death. My daughter, on the other hand, has a clear understanding. She cried terribly last year upon hearing her grandmother had died, and she has seen how my mother's death affected me.
My kids have never visited the grave, also at my wife's insistence. I want to take my daughter there, but my wife fears she would have nightmares afterward and that the experience could be harmful. My daughter has asked me many times to take her. She says she doesn't understand why we left her out of the funeral, etc. Now I don't know what I should do.
I wanted to include her in everything -– the funeral, unveiling and graveside ceremony. I still want her to see the beautiful memorial stone put up in honor of my mother's memory. Abby, who is right on this subject, me or my wife? –-SAD AND CONFUSED
DEAR SAD AND CONFUSED: You are. When a child is old enough to understand and ASKS to be included, that child should be.
Your daughter has been denied the closure she desperately needs. Take her to your mother's grave, and if she needs to, let her cry. Tears are healing.
DEAR ABBY: You gave good advice to "Young, but Not Foolish." She's the 17-year-old girl in love with a man of 25, whose mother married a man nine years older, but didn't want her daughter to do the same. You told her to listen to her mother. The 17-year-old may be totally "in love" with the 25-year-old man, but she should give some thought to the age difference.
When I was 15, I started dating a man 23. We dated for four years and were married six months ago. I am now 19. My husband is 27. I love him very much, but sometimes I feel I missed out on my carefree years by being with an older guy.
My husband is already talking about starting a family before he gets much older. I feel I'm too young to be a parent. I want to go out during the week and have some fun, but he works hard and comes home from work dead tired every night.
These are only a couple of things this young woman should be taking into consideration. –- OLD AT 19
DEAR OLD AT 19: You haven't asked for my advice, but please allow me to offer some. It appears you have gone from your parents' house to your husband's. Before embarking on the adventure of parenthood, stop and ponder for a moment that it is a lifetime responsibility. You should not become a parent until you are sure you're ready -– and by that I mean you are able to support a child should something happen to your husband. Please give what I have said careful thought.
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