DEAR READERS: Today is Veterans Day -- the day that is dedicated to the brave men and women who have served this country with honor, in war and in peace. You have our gratitude for your devotion to duty.
The poem that follows has appeared in my column before. The author's wife, Marie C. Middleton, was kind enough to send it to me. I'm sure you'll agree that it's a fitting tribute to share on Veterans Day.
A SOLDIER'S PRAYER
by Maj. Gen. James B. Middleton
Lord, bless the wives
who grieve alone
And comfort the mothers
who mourn their own
Give solace to the fathers
who lost their sons
On foreign shores and in
Lord, strengthen the resolve
of we who remain
To see that they did not
die in vain.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband gets out of the military, we will be deciding where to live. We want to live near my parents, but how close is too close?
The house next door is for sale. We don't have kids yet, but I keep imagining how wonderful it would be to have their grandparents next door. My mom and I have always been close; however, I don't want to move next door if it will hurt our relationship in the long run. If we set boundaries up front, could it work? -- CAUTIOUS WIFE AND DAUGHTER
DEAR CAUTIOUS: It all depends on the individuals involved. In some families, the kind of situation you have described works well. In others, it leads to chaos and unhappiness. Much depends upon whether your husband wants to be your parents' "extended family" and on how well your parents respect boundaries.
In your case, no decisions should be made until your husband has completed his tour of duty and you have discussed this matter thoroughly and honestly.
DEAR ABBY: I am 57 years old with grown children. Twelve years ago, I moved closer to my parents so I could care for them. After Dad died in '97, Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I took care of her in my home for a while, but when her needs increased to 24/7, I could no longer handle it. Fortunately, I found her a nice nursing home, and I visit her often. I host cookie parties for all the residents and take Mother out for weekly rides and ice cream. She is no longer able to speak, and I am not sure she still knows me.
This Christmas, my husband wants to take me to Arizona for a family vacation. He says Mother won't know the difference. Abby, I feel so guilty leaving her. Should I go? -- DEVOTED DAUGHTER IN MISSOURI
DEAR DEVOTED: Yes, you should go. Have an early Christmas party with your mother and the other residents before you leave for Arizona. The timing won't matter to them. Please, do not feel guilty. Your signature says it all.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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