DEAR ABBY: I am in my sunset years and not well. I know my time is short, but I have one bright spot in my life -- my 5-year-old grandson, "Connor."
Because the little fella stayed with us after preschool and spent much time with us, my wife and I are especially fond of him.
Our problem? Connor's dad (our son) and his wife (the child's mother) disapprove of our fondness for Connor. They say they don't want the boy "hurt" by my impending death and now keep him away from us as much as possible.
Abby, we adore our grandchild. We're heartbroken that he is being kept away from us much of the time simply because his parents are afraid he will grieve when his Paw-Paw dies. What should we do? -- PAW-PAW AND MAW-MAW IN ALABAMA
DEAR PAW-PAW: Your son and daughter-in-law mean well, but they are misguided in trying to "protect" their son from one of the inescapable realities of life. They may be trying to avoid their own issues having to do with death.
You need to have a serious talk with them. Connor's relationship with you and his grandmother is a positive one, regardless of the state of your health. It might be helpful to enlist the assistance of your spiritual adviser and/or your physician.
Death is a part of life, and as sad as these partings may be, children usually recover with amazing resiliency. To cheat Connor -- and you -- out of the short time you have left together is a mistake.