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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandmother's Murder Sparks Ongoing Strife Within Family

DEAR ABBY: My widowed grandmother was recently murdered in a home invasion. My father (her son) wanted my family and me (my children are 5 and 9) to come immediately. I wanted to leave the kids at home because we live in another state and it's a six-hour drive. Dad insisted their presence would be helpful.

We made the decision not to take the children with us. When we were en route, we discovered that the family was gathering at my grandmother's home -- where she had been murdered.

When my parents found out that we hadn't brought the kids, they became very angry with me and have not spoken to me since the memorial service. Was I wrong not to take the kids to Grandma's home for what became a three-day gathering before the funeral?

I confess it upset me considerably when I arrived at my grandmother's home two days after the tragedy and saw the bullet holes, the closed door to her bedroom where she was murdered, and heard the constant discussion about the police investigation. However, if you think I should, I will beg for my parents' forgiveness. -- DONNA IN ATLANTA

DEAR DONNA: You do not owe anyone an apology. I see nothing positive that could have been gained by exposing a 5-year-old and 9-year-old to the horror of the crime scene. Had they expressed a desire to attend their great-grandmother's funeral, they should have been allowed to do so. However, that's a far cry from seeing the reality of how she died. Something like that could scar a child for a lifetime.