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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Vincent," and I have been together for 10 years. We have two beautiful children, a good marriage and a close bond with my family.

Vincent's family disowned him when he married me because of my race, and he's now starting to feel the full emotional impact. He is angry and disappointed with his family, but I know he misses them terribly. I have been called every name in the book by his mother, ignored by his siblings and brought to tears by his father's hateful words. I refuse to expose our children to that kind of treatment, so I have not pushed Vincent to contact his family, even though I feel he should try.

Abby, his family grew up hating minorities, and I doubt they have changed since we last spoke. What can I do to help my husband though this without exposing myself and the children to their ignorance and bigotry? I know our kids will face this issue sometime, but it shouldn't come from family. -- UNACKNOWLEDGED IN ARIZONA

DEAR UNACKNOWLEDGED: I agree that it shouldn't come from family. So just listen when your husband vents, because his anger and disappointment are justified. Do not push him to contact his family. They are so vested in their bias that it's unlikely they will change.

Vincent made his choice 10 years ago, and he chose you. And that is why, rather than dwelling on the past, he should focus his energies on creating a successful and fulfilling future with you, his beautiful children and the family who has embraced him.

DEAR ABBY: My wife has a terminal illness, and we have begun the unpleasant task of making final arrangements. Our children are all in their teens.

Our youngest, "Mitch," is 15 and does not want to attend his mother's funeral. He says he would rather remember her as she is now instead of in a casket.

I know funerals are good for people because they give a sense of closure, but if Mitch doesn't want to go, I'm not sure I should press the issue. Can you please advise?

-- SAD DAD IN ARIZONA

DEAR SAD DAD: My heart goes out to your family at this difficult time. I'm glad you wrote, because I, too, have reservations about pressuring your son. This is a decision that he will have to arrive at on his own.

However, no law dictates that he would have to see his mother lying in the casket. It is my understanding that private farewells can be made with the casket open or closed. Please explain this to him. Also, when the time comes, he may change his mind and want to see her. It's a very personal decision.

DEAR ABBY: My sister, "Mara," has a temper. When she gets mad at our mom and stepfather, she goes into our room and slams the door as hard as she can. It has started to damage the door and walls, and they're fed up with it.

Our stepfather told Mara that if she does not stop it, he will take the door off. If it was just her, I would say she deserves it. But, it's my room, too, and it will take away MY privacy. Shouldn't he find some other type of punishment so I won't have to suffer, too? -- NOT MY FAULT IN MAINE

DEAR NOT YOUR FAULT: Yes, in fairness, he should. Surely, with enough ingenuity, your parents can think of a penalty designed "just for her" -- such as revoking her phone privileges, docking her allowance or grounding her -- that won't penalize an innocent bystander. (That's you.)

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