DEAR ABBY: I have four siblings. We get along fine as long as we're apart.
During Mom's and Dad's funerals, I was dismayed at the degree of tension and bickering among us. I am now dealing with an incurable illness that will shorten my life considerably. I have no desire to put my husband through a funeral hosting a family who never liked him. I prefer to be cremated, and a handwritten letter be sent to each of my siblings after the fact.
Is this selfish? I don't want people saying things they don't sincerely mean. I didn't have a happy childhood, and my siblings contributed to that. My letter will not be accusatory, nor will it rake up long-ago hurts. I just want them to know that my husband has carried out my wishes and they should not blame him for doing so. Any thoughts? -- KEEPING IT SIMPLE
DEAR KEEPING IT SIMPLE: I don't think your wishes are selfish. You're entitled to exit the stage of life in the manner you choose. Because you prefer to bid your siblings goodbye in handwritten letters, go ahead and do it.
If I have any advice to offer it is that your husband should continue to maintain a healthy distance from your siblings after your death. You can't prevent them from having whatever reaction they choose, considering the level of dysfunction in your family. It's not unusual for survivors to react with anger after a death, and your husband should not take it personally if they do.