DEAR ABBY: My aunt had a stillborn baby 20 years ago. At the time, I was a teenager. Ever since then she has lived a morbid lifestyle -- like you'd see in a scary movie. After the first year, she threw a party with a cake for all of us, and wanted us to sing "Happy Birthday" to a baby that never lived.
When my grandfather died recently, she made sure the preacher announced that my grandfather also had another grandchild. I found out that when her cat died she kept it in the house for several days because she didn't want to let it go.
It bothers us a lot, because she acts like she is the victim in life and tries to make people feel guilty for being happy. How do we talk to her? -- CRYSTAL IN NEVADA
DEAR CRYSTAL: Your aunt should have sought grief counseling after she lost her baby. That she would throw a birthday party a year later and expect everyone to participate as if the child had lived is truly sad. Because you and your relatives feel she still hasn't gotten beyond the tragedy, those closest to her should suggest she talk with a therapist now or join a support group.
That said, I am not sure her wish that her little angel be mentioned at your grandfather's funeral was out of line. Although the baby was stillborn, I'm sure the loss was grieved by your grandfather as well as your aunt.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death | Holidays & Celebrations