DEAR ABBY: My father was killed recently in a shooting. I have received text messages and phone calls from my immediate family and close friends. My mother-in-law was thoughtful enough to send me a card, and I called to thank her the day I received it.

My husband has other close relatives. None of them called me, not even my sister-in-law. They have my number, so that’s not the issue. Is this the norm in the United States? I ask because I come from a different background, and I find this disheartening.– GRIEVING IN NEVADA

DEAR GRIEVING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragedy that took your father. When something so out of the ordinary happens, many people don’t know what to say. While something as simple as, “I’m so sorry,” or, “You are in my prayers, and my thoughts are with you,” would suffice, they are so fearful they will say the wrong thing that they say nothing. Your husband’s family may fall into this category. Please try to forgive them. 


DEAR ABBY: I am single, retired and have no children. I do have some health issues. My sisters have begun to hound me about getting rid of things so they won’t have to do it in the event that I die. My entire estate, which is close to $1 million, will go to them and their children. 

It is exhausting for me to pack things and move boxes, and they are no help. I’d like to enjoy the time I have left and not have to listen to their complaints. What should I do?– FED UP AND TIRED

DEAR FED UP: Tell your sisters you would like to die (when the time comes) surrounded by the mementos that have brought you pleasure throughout the years, and you do not plan to get rid of anything! Then suggest that when you are gone, they will have more than enough money to pay someone to cart away anything they don’t wish to keep. With a “close to $1 million” windfall in their pockets, the expense should not be onerous. 


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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