DEAR ABBY: I'd like to thank all those generous people who work nights, weekends and holidays.
Without the help of the auto club operator who answered my call one Christmas morning (and the mechanic who showed up), I would have missed the joy of seeing my grandchild opening gifts.
We no longer argue about what everyone wants for Christmas breakfast because of the servers, chefs and busboys who give me the best present of all -– more relaxed time with my family because everyone can eat what they want.
And let's not forget the emergency medical workers who are always there for childhood emergencies, all too often in the middle of the night or on holidays. Thanks, too, to the pharmacists who fill prescriptions when the establishments around them are closed.
I am grateful to everyone who gives up precious time with their own families and friends in order to make life easier for the rest of us.
Abby, thanks for printing this. I want all these generous people to know how appreciated they are, especially at holiday time. Bless you one and all. -- GRATEFUL
DEAR GRATEFUL: Thank you for an uplifting letter. Counting our blessings is a wonderful way to start a new year, and you have mentioned only a few of our unsung heroes. Add to that our police, our firefighters, our brave young men and women in the military, and caregivers everywhere. They, too, are unsung heroes.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Phil," and I lost a child two years ago on Christmas Eve. Before that Phil was always affectionate. Now he hardly shows his emotions at all, and doesn't tell me he loves me as often as he used to.
I love my husband with all my heart and want things the way they used to be. I think he is still hurting, but he refuses to get help.
What should I do? Please help me. -- LOVING HIM IN TENNESSEE
DEAR LOVING: It's clear that your husband is still grieving and has not been able to move on as quickly as you have. Since he refuses to go to grief counseling, go without him.
It may help you to understand that grief is an individual process, and perhaps it will better enable you to help him through it.
Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss.
DEAR ABBY: I really need some help. When I was 15, my half-brother raped me. I am now almost 40. I want nothing to do with him, and I don't want him around my kids.
Abby, my half-brother keeps trying to call me. How can I make him leave me alone without anyone knowing what happened? – EMBARRASSED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Please stop protecting him with your silence. Contact a rape crisis hotline. It is long overdue and you can still benefit from post-traumatic stress counseling. You have no reason to be embarrassed or to keep this a secret. A rape victim is never at fault.
You can also install caller ID on your telephone and block his calls to stop the harassment. If that fails, talk to your lawyer about a restraining order.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600