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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Questions His Place at Ex-Wife's Funeral

DEAR ABBY: I was divorced 10 years ago. My children are all over 21. I talk with them once a month, but I contact my ex-wife only when there's an issue that relates to our kids.

My ex now has cancer. When she dies, am I expected to attend the funeral? I would like to go as a show of respect to my kids. However, I don't know how they would react because they know I have had little contact with their mother for the last decade.

The same question goes for my ex-mother-in-law, who is almost 90. I had a good relationship with her until the divorce, at which point she would no longer talk to me. Should I be there since she is the grandmother of my children? -- PLANNING AHEAD

DEAR PLANNING: I think your question may be somewhat premature. Your relationship with your ex-wife and her mother may improve before anyone dies -- and let's admit it, YOU could be the one to go first.

If there is any chance that your presence at her mother's funeral would upset your ex-wife, then I vote for skipping it and explaining the reason to your children. As to attending your ex's funeral when (and IF) the time comes, remember that funerals are to comfort the living. During one of your monthly conversations with your children -- once your ex-wife is determined to be terminal and NOT before -- ask what their wishes are and abide by them.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Death | Family & Parenting