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by Abigail Van Buren

Obituary Omission Weakens Shaky Family Ties

DEAR ABBY: My dad has never been great at communicating. I'm the only one who seems to communicate with him, even though I'm across the country. Over the last few years, until recently, his new wife, "Dorie," helped to bridge the gap. I loved having Dad around even if it was second hand from her.

When my aunt, his sister, died suddenly, somehow I was appointed to write the obituary. Having never written one, I inadvertently omitted Dorie's name in the article. She became enraged and defensive. I apologized, but I also showed my teeth a bit because she was so rude about an honest mistake. Now communication with Dad is as strained as it was before. I think she screens and answers his messages, so I'm unsure if it's him replying.

Dad was sick recently, and she didn't bother to tell me. I learned about it through Facebook. I'm a nice person, but she really upset me. I have already apologized and explained it was a mistake. I want a relationship with my dad. Should I apologize again? -- FRUSTRATED DAUGHTER IN THE WEST

DEAR DAUGHTER: Yes. Apologize for reacting the way you did (showing your teeth) after the obituary "disaster." Dorie's feelings were already hurt because of your omission. If you can, smooth over what happened. However, recognize that your relationship with your father didn't make him a better communicator. You were keeping tabs on him through the efforts of his wife.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death