DEAR ABBY: I recently lost a niece. She had struggled with substance abuse and was away at college when she died. I believed in what a wonderful person she was and could be, and often sent her cards of encouragement.
When my sister and her husband went to retrieve her belongings, they mentioned that she had my cards around her room. I had hoped that her parents would give them to me, but three months later, they have not. Would it be wrong for me to ask for them? -- LOVING AUNT IN THE SOUTH
DEAR LOVING AUNT: Please accept my sympathy for your family's loss. The cards may not have been offered because your sister and her husband are experiencing the depths of grief. While it would not be "wrong" to ask if you can have them, don't be surprised if they refuse to let them go -- at least for the time being. Having the possessions their daughter surrounded herself with may be important to them right now as a way of feeling closer to her.