DEAR ABBY: I have read your column for years but can't recall this topic ever being mentioned. I'm surprised, as it must occur frequently in today's society.
I am a 64-year-old male who was married to a woman I'll call "Myrtle" at age 19 in 1962. We raised our four children and divorced after 25 years of marriage. The divorce was brutal and vicious. Afterward, I moved on with my life. I remarried in 1991; Myrtle never remarried.
Well, Myrtle died. The children invited me and my wife, "Peggy," to the funeral. To my surprise, Peggy said we should go and "be there for the kids." However, I told my children I would not feel comfortable being there and would send flowers instead. I know my children were disappointed and wanted Peggy and me there, as they were kind of persistent. I did have second thoughts about it and guilt set in, but I stayed with my decision.
Now that it's all over, I have this feeling that maybe I made a mistake and appeared to be selfish, uncaring or whatever. Do you think I should send them a card or letter asking forgiveness, or just leave it alone, as apparently they have accepted it? -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN WASHINGTON
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: People attend funerals for two reasons: to pay respects to the deceased, and to offer comfort and support to the grieving survivors. For the latter reason you should have put aside your anger and bitterness and attended Myrtle's funeral.
By all means write your children and apologize for not being there for them when they asked you to be. Then hope they will be more forgiving than you have been.