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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Reaction to Mom's Death Infuriates Her Sister

DEAR ABBY: My sister, "Sheila," and I have not had the friendliest relationship over the last few years. Five years ago, we moved our mother to a wonderful assisted-living facility close to me as she aged. I was responsible for all her care decisions. I am a single, full-time shift worker at a hospital, while Sheila is very affluent and flies on a private company jet.

When I received a phone call at work that Mom's end was near, I left immediately to be at her side. Mom was able to talk softly with me, and briefly with my sister on the phone. When the conversation ended, Sheila told me, "OK, I guess this is it," and said goodbye, adding it was "bad timing" since she had company coming.

I called Sheila on Mom's passing, two days later, to clarify notification of family and friends so there would be no duplication. She said she'd call only one family friend.

Sheila had friends visiting during that time and had planned an overnight suite and spa day at a five-star hotel in Beverly Hills on the same day Mom died, which she kept. Why do you think a daughter grieving her mother's passing would go to a health spa? -- STILL FURIOUS IN EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR STILL FURIOUS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother, which you still appear to be grieving. Perhaps it's time to let go of your anger and accept that everyone grieves in his or her own way. From your description of your sister's behavior, it appears she had emotionally distanced herself from her mother -- and possibly you -- long before your mother's actual passing. Letting go was easier for her than for you because she had already moved on.