DEAR ABBY: Last year, my brother "Devon" died after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, "Clarisse," and my two nephews. Devon and I were as close as a brother and sister could be. My husband was close to him, too.
Seven months after Devon's passing, Clarisse began dating "Tim." No one was overjoyed by this, but we knew that Clarisse had loved my brother and mourned deeply. We understood it was time for her to move on. We put our feelings aside.
The problem is, my daughter's birthday party is coming up soon. We are hosting a family party and inviting everyone, including Clarisse, Tim and the boys. My parents have expressed disappointment that Clarisse's boyfriend is being included and have informed us that they will not attend if Tim is there.
What should I do? Should I invite everyone, as my husband suggests, and let the chips fall where they may? Or should I respect the wishes of my parents and ask Clarisse not to bring Tim? -- IN THE MIDDLE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: If your parents object to Tim's presence only because they have difficulty accepting that Clarisse has moved on, then I see no reason to exclude him. While they have my deepest sympathy for the loss of their son, they have no right to dictate who should or should not be on your guest list or part of Clarisse's life.