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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow Wants Star Billing in Her Role as Grandma

DEAR ABBY: My late husband and I had a relationship spanning 30 years. When he was sober, he was a good husband and wonderful father to our two children. We separated 10 years before he died, and he moved out of state with his young mistress, "Eve," who did everything she could to damage my relationship with our daughter, "Beth." She finally succeeded. Beth went to live with her father, and she and Eve became friends. At Beth's wedding, Eve appeared in almost every photo, taking my place as the "bride's mother." (My son and I were not invited.)

To my husband's credit, it was his wish that I receive his insurance and pension when he died. When our son tragically died at age 23, Beth and I reconciled. I then remarried and after two years was widowed again -- which made me a wealthy woman. I have chosen to help Beth and her family financially, and I know they are grateful.

Eve is still on the scene 11 years after my husband's passing, and my 6-year-old grandson refers to her as Grandma. At times he blurts out that he has "three grandmas" -- his father's mother, Eve and me.

I feel I should be at center stage without an "imposter" waiting in the wings. Should I make this an issue or ignore it? I feel my daughter is disloyal by allowing this to continue. -- FEELING BETRAYED IN NEW YORK CITY

DEAR FEELING BETRAYED: I'm not sure I agree. The person who was "disloyal" was your first husband. He left you for a younger woman. When your daughter went to live with them, she was young and impressionable and Eve befriended her. It is understandable that her child thinks he has three grandmothers. He is too young to understand why.

I see nothing to gain and much to lose by trying to rule via the purse strings. Please resist the temptation. One day your grandson will realize what the facts are. Be patient and take the high road.