DEAR ABBY: My father was killed recently in a shooting. I have received text messages and phone calls from my immediate family and close friends. My mother-in-law was thoughtful enough to send me a card, and I called to thank her the day I received it.
My husband has other close relatives. None of them called me, not even my sister-in-law. They have my number, so that's not the issue. Is this the norm in the United States? I ask because I come from a different background, and I find this disheartening. -- GRIEVING IN NEVADA
DEAR GRIEVING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragedy that took your father. When something so out of the ordinary happens, many people don't know what to say. While something as simple as, "I'm so sorry," or, "You are in my prayers, and my thoughts are with you," would suffice, they are so fearful they will say the wrong thing that they say nothing. Your husband's family may fall into this category. Please try to forgive them.
DEAR ABBY: I am single, retired and have no children. I do have some health issues. My sisters have begun to hound me about getting rid of things so they won't have to do it in the event that I die. My entire estate, which is close to $1 million, will go to them and their children.
It is exhausting for me to pack things and move boxes, and they are no help. I'd like to enjoy the time I have left and not have to listen to their complaints. What should I do? -- FED UP AND TIRED
DEAR FED UP: Tell your sisters you would like to die (when the time comes) surrounded by the mementos that have brought you pleasure throughout the years, and you do not plan to get rid of anything! Then suggest that when you are gone, they will have more than enough money to pay someone to cart away anything they don't wish to keep. With a "close to $1 million" windfall in their pockets, the expense should not be onerous.
DEAR ABBY: Would you think a husband is in love with his wife if he never talks to her, touches her or shows any interest in her? The worst kind of loneliness is the kind in marriage.
What should a wife do if she feels her husband no longer cares for her? We have been married five years, and I think about the seven-year itch. The first two years were difficult, and things haven't gotten better. Would counseling help? I'm ready to leave. -- CONFUSED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR CONFUSED: I am not sure who is itching, you or your husband. Because there is so much unhappiness in your marriage, talk to your husband about it. Ask him why he has withdrawn from you, and whether he would be interested in working things out with the help of a licensed marriage and family therapist. If he is not willing, then realize it's time to leave because the atmosphere you have described is toxic for you, and it isn't a marriage.
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