DEAR ABBY: In a recent column you printed a letter from "Outraged in the South," whose stepmother, upon her death, will have herself buried between "Outraged's" father and his first wife in the family burial plot.
You advised her that it would most likely be useless to try to talk this incredibly insensitive stepmother out of it. However, there is something that "Outraged" and her siblings can do. After the stepmother dies -- or, perhaps even better, before she dies -- the "children" can go together and have another inscription engraved on the stone underneath the first wife's name.
It could read: "She did it over our dead bodies -- Signed, The Children." -- DEE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR DEE: Your suggestion is a hoot. Not everyone viewed the second wife's intentions as we did. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter from "Outraged in the South," my stomach turned. Perhaps the stepmother should not have moved Dad over -- it is pretty gross. However, maybe the dad and stepmother discussed where they would like to be buried, and he chose to be next to her instead of in the middle because he had been married to her for at least 27 years. Over the course of those 27 years, I assume she loved him, cared for him and, most likely, nursed him through his last illness.
The youngest daughter was approximately 17 years old when her father married a much younger woman. He lived to be at least 90 years old. She should be grateful that they had such a long life together and were there for each other.
Give this woman a break. Unless she was a selfish witch, those adult children could use their time more productively. They should console their stepmother, as I am sure she is mourning. She is now approximately 65 years old, and I would expect she could use some "family" around her.
If you print this, please don't use my name. All the relatives live here. -- A CALIFORNIAN
DEAR CALIFORNIAN: You're right; there are usually two sides to every story. However, if the matter had been discussed between the father and his second wife, it would have been wise to have shared the burial plans with the adult children well in advance.