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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow Considers Her Choices Before Setting Name in Stone

DEAR ABBY: After a long and happy marriage, I became a widow three years ago, and am soon to marry an old family friend, "Vernon." His wife was a dear friend of mine who was killed several years ago. Vern and I are trying to get our personal business in order ahead of time, so there will be no ill feelings among our adult children.

When I die, I will be buried next to my first husband, and Vern with his late wife. My question is, how should my name appear on the headstone, considering the fact that I plan to become "Mrs. Vernon Jones" when we marry?

My son is upset that I'd give up the "Smith" family name. I don't want to create friction between my son and my new husband, but I do plan to take Vern's last name and am surprised at my son's strenuous objection.

How should this be handled, Abby? -- "MRS. SMITH" IN MARIETTA, GA.

DEAR "MRS. SMITH": The name on your headstone should probably read "Jane Smith Jones" to avoid confusion. Although it is upsetting to your son that you have chosen to adopt your new husband's last name, he will have to adapt to reality. One lesson I have learned over the years: You cannot solve every problem -– particularly if the problem isn't yours to begin with.