DEAR ABBY: My daughter-in-law, "Brooke," lost her grandfather five weeks ago. She has chosen not to tell her 4- and 10-year-old kids about it. She has ordered my husband, me and our son not to mention it. The kids see her grandmother at least once a week, and she is not supposed to tell them either.
I didn't know the kids hadn't been told and I started to say something at a family dinner. The 10-year-old heard me, and I got shushed. I'm mad at the whole situation. Brooke refuses to tell them "until she's ready," and I couldn't disagree more. I understand her grief. I have lost grandparents and parents. The services won't be for several weeks. I understand she can't deal with the loss yet, but denying her kids the truth only delays her grieving process and also doesn't allow them their time to grieve and process.
Now Brooke is mad and screaming and crying about it. I'm trying to back off, but I'm angry that her needs are being put first and at being told I made a horrible mistake by offering the love and caring I thought they needed. How can I repair the perceived mistake I have made? -- VEXED IN VERMONT
DEAR VEXED: If you were unaware that your DIL was trying to shield her kids from the reality of their great-grandfather's death when you spoke out, you did nothing wrong. However, you should have offered an apology to her privately. Back off and lie low until the funeral. Your DIL is not herself right now. She needs time to cool off and regain some perspective. It would be interesting to know how your son feels about the way she's handling this. With luck, he can smooth things over.