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by Abigail Van Buren

Nephew Is Saddened by Omission From Uncle's Obituary

DEAR ABBY: After a long and successful life, my uncle recently passed away. His wife is my mother's sister. During one of our phone calls, she told me she and my cousins had written his obituary and that it would be published soon. To my shock and dismay, I located the obituary and discovered that my sister and I were not mentioned as his niece and nephew. I am still terribly hurt. Why would they do this?

My sister and I grew up spending every major holiday and birthday with my uncle. The obituary did include his other niece and nephew who live on the opposite side of the country and kept in touch only with an occasional phone call and holiday card. I included my cousins in my parents' and sister's obituaries, all of whom have passed in the last few years.

I feel that I must address this with them, but I don't want to add to the pain they are going through while they mourn their loss. I now dread attending the memorial because I'm worried friends of our family may bring it up, and I won't know what to say. -- HURT NEPHEW IN ILLINOIS

DEAR NEPHEW: Even when a death is expected, many people go into a state of shock, which interferes with their ability to sequence facts. It is entirely possible that the obituary was written when your aunt and cousins weren't thinking straight, which is why you were omitted. If someone brings it up at the memorial -- which I doubt will happen -- rather than nurse hurt feelings, I hope you will point out that the family, including you, is grieving. Period.

Read more in: Death | Family & Parenting