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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl with a problem. Last spring, the day after we graduated from eighth grade, one of my friends was killed in a car accident.

Not a day goes by without my thinking about her -- or the words the principal said when he told our class the horrible news. I've read all the newspaper stories and have visited her grave. I plan on going again on her birthday. When I go to the cemetery and realize she is in the ground, I start crying a thousand tears.

I try to remember the good times we spent together -- the way she threw a ball and her big smile that could brighten anyone's day. She smiled all the time. (I used to be jealous of her because she was one of the prettiest girls in school.)

I would like to tell her family how much I loved her and to tell them all the good things we did together. I want them to know I am always thinking about her, but I don't know how to begin a letter. Can you help? -- MISSING MY FRIEND IN INDIANA

DEAR MISSING: I am sorry to learn you lost your dear friend. My heart goes out to you, her family and other friends.

Start the letter to the family by writing, "I'd like you to know the reasons I'll never forget your daughter ..." Such a letter will be a priceless treasure to her parents and will help you to work through your own grief.

DEAR ABBY: I have a sister I'll call Lisa, who refuses to contact any of the family. Granted, for years she was physically abused by our father, our mother was cold and emotionally abusive, and I guess the family in general was unsupportive. But no family is perfect. Right?

Everyone in the family thinks Lisa is being selfish, bitter and unforgiving, myself included. I stood by my family. Lisa turned her back.

The last time I talked to Lisa, she said she had suffered greatly due to the family and wants a life of her own. How can she do this? She claims she doesn't feel "safe" with us.

I know our family isn't perfect by any means, and I know I haven't been the greatest sister, but she can't just leave! Right? She has a responsibility to this family. Isn't she being neglectful to simply turn her back on us?

Abby, you know how important family is. How can I get Lisa to admit she is wrong and return to the family? -- FRUSTRATED SISTER IN CANADA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Lisa isn't being selfish, bitter or unforgiving. After a lifetime of abuse, she has somehow become healthy and refuses to tolerate being mistreated any longer.

The best advice I can offer is to accept her decision and wish her well. She has served her time and has gone on to better things. Console yourself with the fact that you and the family still have each other.

DEAR ABBY: There are two nice young men working in our office. One is being married in a few months, and the other man's wife is expecting a baby around the same time.

Is it appropriate to give them showers? How about a combined shower? Or is the whole idea of showers for men just not done? -- CURIOUS OFFICE MATE

DEAR CURIOUS: Not done? Joint showers are a terrific concept. Invite the bride-to-be and the mother-to-be and make it a "Jack and Jill" shower. I see nothing inappropriate about showering good wishes and all that goes with them on these young couples.

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-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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