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DEAR ABBY: This Mother's Day was my fourth without my youngest son. In June of 1999, he was killed by a drunk driver. My son was only 23 and had his whole life ahead of him.

The driver was a 50-year-old man who pulled out of a bar parking lot onto a main road as though he were the only driver in the world. My son didn't stand a chance. It was 8:30 on a Tuesday night. DUIs can occur any day, any time.

That tragic night not only changed my life forever, but the lives of my son's brother, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, a girlfriend and friends. I will never be able to attend his wedding, cuddle his children, or have a relationship with his wife.

I raised two boys and enjoyed their company. How quickly all that changed. I no longer enjoy "happy" or "merry" holidays.

Abby, please warn your readers not to drink and drive. Tragedy caused by a drunk driver can strike any family. -- A MOM CHANGED FOREVER

DEAR MOM: I'm sad to say that's absolutely true. Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your son. With the Fourth of July holiday beginning tomorrow, your letter is especially timely.

Readers, relax, give thanks to our founding fathers, but please do not drink and drive.

DEAR ABBY: I am working this summer and saving to buy a new car. The car I have now is fine; I just want something newer.

My problem is, what do I do with my old car when I get a new one? My parents are divorced, but both of them have asked me to sell it to a different brother. I know that when I choose one, the other will be upset and will think I am playing favorites. What should I do? -- ONE CAR/TWO BROS IN KANSAS

DEAR CAR, TWO BROS: It's unfair for you to be placed in the middle. Establish a fair price for the vehicle. Tell both of your brothers what's going on and have them draw a "lucky ticket" out of a hat to see who gets to buy the car. If that is not acceptable, the car should be sold to a third party.

DEAR ABBY: I married a widower who is 40 years older than me. I adore him, but he insists on keeping a portrait of his deceased wife prominently displayed in our living room. (She died 10 years ago.) He also has a sculpture of her head on a pedestal.

This behavior irks me. Please advise. -- SECONDHAND IRIS IN MINNEAPOLIS

DEAR IRIS: Your husband may have had the portrait for so long that he's no longer aware of its presence. Have you told him how you feel about it? If you have, and he's resistant to removing it -- as a compromise, ask him to display it in a less prominent place.

As for the sculpture, when he's not around, throw a towel or a lovely scarf over it and keep your sense of humor. After all, she's just plaster and paint. You are flesh and blood.

DEAR ABBY: This summer I'm getting married to Mr. Wonderful. Jerry and I have been engaged for two years and together for five. The problem? His new hobby -- computer chat rooms.

Maybe I've got the wedding jitters, but this bothers me no end. Lately he's been messaging "Gina" in the U.K. They communicate frequently, and even have pet names for each other. (Jerry calls her "Little British Babe" and she calls him "Jer-Bear.")

Now I have discovered they're exchanging letters, photos and chocolates. Jerry says it's because she misses her favorite U.S. candy -- Hershey kisses.

Abby, am I being paranoid, or is more going on than meets the eye? -- SUSPICIOUS FIANCEE IN NEBRASKA

DEAR SUSPICIOUS FIANCEE: I don't think you are being paranoid. Your fiance should be exchanging kisses (chocolate and otherwise) with you. Tell him to cut out the candy and sweet talk, or you'll go on a "diet" that doesn't include him.

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.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600

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