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by Abigail Van Buren

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.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been going together for two years. I love him, but am worried because he is a drug dealer. He is obsessed with making money and says he's going to be selling drugs forever.

Abby, I'm afraid he's going to get caught and go to jail -- and because I am always with him, I will go to jail, too. I've begged him to stop, but he won't. I'm so afraid of being with him and getting arrested, but I love him and can't leave him. What should I do? -- IN LOVE WITH A PUSHER

DEAR IN LOVE WITH A PUSHER: Leave him. Run. It's only a matter of time before he gets caught and you wind up in prison as an accessory. There are worse things than a broken heart. Two of them are: having everything you own confiscated by the government because you were busted for selling and abetting the sale of drugs -- and serving time in prison. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: It was a special delight for me to read your July 4 column concerning the Cub Scout activity called the Pinewood Derby.

I invented the derby in the early 1950s for the purpose of fostering a father-and-son project for the Cub Scouts. The first derby was held in a small scout house in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on May 15, 1953. We will celebrate our 50th anniversary next year! Since its inception, millions of Cub Scouts and parents worldwide have participated.

I would like to express thanks to all the parents and grandparents for their dedicated involvement in the derby over the years. A second round of applause to the moms who have participated with and encouraged their children. -- DON MURPHY, TORRANCE, CALIF.

DEAR DON: You deserve to take a bow for conceiving such a helpful program, which seems to have taken off and assumed a life of its own.

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