DEAR ABBY: I've been estranged from my three siblings, their spouses and their families for 35 years -- my choice. There has been no correspondence, and I have seen them only at our parents' funerals.
Since we are all in our 80s, I anticipate there will be funerals for us in the next decade. If I go first, there is no problem. However, I'm considering not attending their funerals or those of their spouses. My grown children say I MUST attend because I'm their brother. I'm concerned that I might be a distraction or there could be a confrontation. Besides, I still remember what caused my estrangement and I just don't want to see them. I know I'm stubborn, but am I wrong? -- TO GO OR NOT TO GO
DEAR GO OR NO: I disagree with your children. People attend funerals to pay their respects to the deceased and/or comfort the family who has suffered the loss. If, after 35 years, you show up at the funeral, you could, indeed, be a distraction -- unless it has been so long that nobody recognizes you.
DEAR ABBY: Is it wrong to have no interest in grandchildren? My wife is five years older than I am and she's elated with our new grandchild. I'm only 42 and I feel I'm too young to be a "Gramps." I prefer to be free from kid activities and enjoy my adult pursuits.
I have raised children for the last 20-plus years and I think it's my stepdaughter's turn to be a parent. My wife is all gung ho to watch the grandchild anytime she's free, but I'm not interested at all.
Am I wrong for wanting my own time and space with my wife? -- TOO YOUNG FOR IT IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR TOO YOUNG: No law says you must baby-sit if you don't want to. Not everyone enjoys the company of small children. If your wife enjoys doing it, that's her privilege. However, if the baby-sitting is interfering with your marriage, then you're complaining to the wrong woman, and the two of you need to work out a compromise on which you can both agree.
DEAR ABBY: I have very long hair and I'm proud of it. I have worn my hair long ever since I was a little girl. My problem is when I go somewhere, other women come up to me and start touching it.
I understand that they like my hair because they always compliment me on it, but I hate it when strangers touch me. Apparently, people have forgotten the concept of "personal space."
How can I tell someone -- without sounding rude -- to please not touch me? Or must I just keep quiet and tolerate it with a smile? -- RAPUNZEL IN DALLAS
DEAR RAPUNZEL: Not everyone enjoys being touched, particularly by strangers. If someone reaches out to pet you, smile, step back and say, "I'd prefer you not do that." You have a right to your personal space. As long as you say it in a pleasant but firm tone, no one has the right to be offended. And if someone is, refrain from making it your problem.
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