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by Abigail Van Buren

Soldier's Imagination Gets a Workout While in the Gym

DEAR ABBY: My father died six months ago after many years of declining health. He was 87 and had lived a long and rich life. My oldest brother insists we have an annual celebration on my father's birthday at Dad's favorite Chinese restaurant. This isn't how I want to honor my father. He was a simple man who liked working "behind the scenes."

Everyone in our large family showed up at the restaurant, and my mother and brother loved all the attention. I do not want to memorialize my father this way, but not participating will create a rift. Should I stay true to myself and honor Dad in my own quiet way, or fake it and go to this annual shindig that is really about my brother? -- MANIPULATED IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR MANIPULATED: That's a decision I can't make for you. You need to weigh the benefits of honoring your MOTHER'S feelings against the fallout your absence would create. While this celebration may have been your brother's idea, he really doesn't figure into the equation. If your father died at 87, your mother may not be around much longer and you'll have many years to honor your dad in your own quiet way.