DEAR ABBY: My sister had a childhood friend, "Denise," with whom she was very close in elementary school. They were friends only intermittently as they grew older, and Denise started getting into all kinds of trouble. When they were in college, my sister house-sat for my parents while they were on vacation, and Denise stayed with her. While she was there, she stole some expensive jewelry from my mother.
Although the family never confronted Denise about it, it was obvious that she took the jewelry, and my sister did not remain in contact with her after that.
My sister is now 40 and expecting her first child. I have offered to throw a shower for her.
A couple of years ago, Denise got in touch with my sister and they became friends again. I don't know much about her last 20 years, other than that she spent time in jail and is now a single mother to a teenage son and works for a non-profit agency.
Given her history with the family, I definitely do not want to invite Denise into my home for the shower, and my mother is adamant that she will not attend the shower if Denise is there. My sister wants to invite Denise because they are friends again, and she doesn't know how to tell her that she isn't invited. What do we do? -- "LORETTA" IN LOS ANGELES
DEAR "LORETTA": If your sister is not already aware of your feelings and your mother's, she should be enlightened. If she still wishes to invite Denise to her baby shower, then it will have to be held somewhere other than your home -- and your mother will not be there.
However, considering the circumstances, I think it's time your sister grew a backbone and explained to Denise that the theft left lasting hard feelings with the family -- which are understandable -- so she should not expect to be included at any family functions that include your mother.
DEAR ABBY: One of my closest friends, "Louise," has informed me that her husband just moved out and is requesting a divorce. She is hoping to repair the marriage. She has not given me a reason why, nor have I asked. I am trying to be a good friend and be supportive.
My problem is, on a recent trip to visit my grandmother in a nearby city, I saw Louise's husband being very cozy and affectionate with a very pregnant woman. Louise was never able to have children, so this will come as a big blow to her. She has also started drinking a great deal, and is having all sorts of people at home for parties. This is not typical behavior for her, but I understand why she's doing it.
Louise lives a financially secure life because of her husband's income. He is already asking about how to liquefy the assets, and she is in denial. I don't know if I should tell her about the pregnant woman or express my concerns about her drinking. I feel she needs to wake up and smell the coffee and start securing her assets. What should I do? -- WORRIED ABOUT MY FRIEND
DEAR WORRIED: Your friend may already know about the woman and the baby, but on the chance that she doesn't, she should be told what you saw. And because you are concerned about her drinking, you should express that, too.
There are difficult times ahead for your friend. She's going to need her wits about her -- not be addled or living in a fantasy world. She's going to need legal advice and, of course, all of the emotional support her friends can give her.
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