Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Siblings Drifting Apart Must Come Together for Mother

DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old married woman in Canada. I moved from the United States to be with my husband when I was 19. People seem to react negatively because we married at such a young age. I am often asked, "What do your parents think about that?"

Abby, my mother died when I was 17 and I have had little contact with my father since I was 12 because he was abusive. I was fortunate that my grandmother took me in. She loves my husband and has no problem with my marriage as she knows I am wise beyond my years because of my past.

How can I respond to these strangers -- first about their negative reaction to my having married so young, and second, to their questions about my parents? I don't like telling strangers about my mother's passing away because it is still painful after all these years. -- NO PARENTS IN CALGARY

DEAR NO PARENTS: Ah, the thoughtless questions people come up with about things that are none of their business! You do not have to give a stranger chapter and verse about your family history. Just smile, say, "I was raised by my grandmother, and she didn't have a problem with it," then change the subject immediately by asking the person a question about her- or himself.