DEAR ABBY: I wish to address my comments to "Wants to Be Remembered" (Sept. 24), the terminally ill woman who is jealous of her ex-husband's new wife's role in her grandchild's life.
My three sisters and I lost our dear mother when I was 20. I am now the single parent of a 5-year-old daughter and "Aunty" to four nieces and nephews. None of our children knew their biological grandmother.
My father married a wonderful woman 10 years after Mom's passing. I was never particularly close to my stepmother until I became pregnant. But the love and support she has provided me and my sisters is priceless. She never had children of her own, so she inherited a whole family when she married Dad.
She once told me she gives our kids two kisses each time -- one from her and one from my mom in heaven. All our kids know "Mom Mom" (my mother) is in heaven, and "Mamu" is here.
Dad passed away two years ago, and we are blessed to still have Mamu in our lives. My daughter wouldn't have ANY grandparents if it weren't for my stepmother. She's as much a part of our lives today as she was when Dad was alive.
Please assure WTBR that her daughters can honor her legacy with their children as well as welcome the love of their grandfather and step-grandmother. I hope it will put her fears to rest. -- GRATEFUL FOR MAMU IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR GRATEFUL: I was overwhelmed by the mountain of responses written by caring readers such as you. The majority empathized with WTBR while offering valuable insights. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: WTBR needs to understand that although her ex has remarried, she will never be replaced in the hearts of her children. She should be happy that her daughters have an opportunity to develop a loving relationship with another mother figure.
This is not about "replacing" her, but about enhancing the lives of her children. When she succumbs to her illness, her daughters will have someone to comfort them over their loss and help them through it. The stepmother can be a blessing that can make her family stronger. If WTBR would give the woman a chance, it's possible they could even become friends. It's time to put aside her selfish desires and consider what's best for her family. -- A LOVING STEPMOM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: Many children don't know their grandparents for many reasons, but if someone with the age and wisdom to assume the role of grandparent would like to have a positive influence on my children, he or she is welcome to be addressed that way by my kids. Biology doesn't override a warm hug or a freshly baked cookie in the eyes of a child. -- BRIDGE THE GAP
DEAR ABBY: My mother died when my daughter was a baby. Before she died, she made grandmother's books for each of her five grandchildren. In them she shared her own childhood memories, family roots and words of wisdom. She also lovingly wrote each child a personal letter at the end of the book.
We cherish my daughter's book. Through it, my daughter got to know her grandma and experience her love, although their paths crossed only briefly in this life. -- DELANA'S DAUGHTER
DEAR ABBY: WTBR can share a part of herself with her grandchild by creating a "time capsule." Inside she should include a photograph of herself, as well as a favorite song or story recorded on audiotape or CD. The special messages and personal items will help her grandchild connect with a loving grandparent who wanted to be part of her grandchild's life. -- GRANDMA BARBARA