DEAR HARRIETTE: My uncle, who always used to be the life of the party and a fairly slim man, has turned into a total recluse and supposedly ballooned in weight after my aunt filed for divorce. I wouldn't know what he looks like because he doesn't want relatives coming over and seeing him. I miss him and worry this weight gain will have more damaging effects than he anticipated, like on his health and self-esteem. I thought about sending him a care package and a card so that he will still know we are thinking about him. My mother told me that sending a package is cold when we can just drive over and see him. I don't want to start a family feud, but I want to make sure my uncle is OK without overstepping his boundaries. Should I go behind my mother's back and send her brother a card? -- Missing Uncle, Roxbury, Mississippi
DEAR MISSING UNCLE: You should follow your heart. If you would like to send your uncle a card saying that you are thinking about him, go for it. Invite him to go out with you. Ask if he needs anything. As far as your mother is concerned, if she wants to go visit him, she can try that. If enough people reach out to your uncle during this stressful period, hopefully somebody will get through.