DEAR ABBY: Teen’s sudden death comes amid a fractured friendship

Thursday, July 1, 2021

DEAR ABBY: Last year, after a falling out with someone I have been friends with for more than 20 years, I was OK with writing this person off and going on with my life. From my understanding, this person felt the same way.

Last week, their teenage son died in a terrible accident. I was heartbroken. I truly cared about the boy and had watched him grow up. I reached out and received no response (as I expected). I’m torn about whether I should go to the funeral and how it would be perceived. I want to show support, but I’m concerned I’m not wanted there. I’m also concerned that if I don’t go it will look awful and disrespectful, since I have been a part of this boy’s life. I don’t know what to do. — CARED FOR HIM IN OHIO

DEAR CARED FOR HIM: You may not have heard from the family because they are grieving and not communicating with everyone. As I see it, you have several choices: Send a condolence card, send flowers, contribute to a charity in the young man’s name and/or go UNOBTRUSIVELY to the funeral and sit in the back. If, however, you decide to do this, do not go with any expectation it will heal the breach in your relationship.

DEAR ABBY: When six of us women got together for lunch, one gal brought copies of her mother’s newly published book of poetry. The book was $20. After describing the book and her mother, she offered one to each of us to PURCHASE! We’re not poor, but I thought she showed poor taste by pushing this book on us. We all bought one because we felt obligated. What’s your opinion about what she did? What would have been a tactful way to refuse? — DUMBSTRUCK

DEAR DUMBSTRUCK: You could have thanked the woman for offering the book, told her you are sure it was “wonderful” and refused by saying, “But I’m just not into poetry!”

DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when my daughter and her hubby were a young family with two boys, they gave me a large wall clock with sound, lighting and a wooded background with deer. It was a well-thought-out gift, as I was a bow deer hunter. I loved it and I’m sure they didn’t need to be spending money for a Christmas present for me.

My problem is we have since retired and moved. I no longer have a place to hang the clock, and it no longer goes with my decor. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, and it hurts me to think about getting rid of it. Would it be tacky to ask her if she would like it back, explaining my reasoning? An alternative would be to offer it to her sister who also lives in Florida now. If I were to do this, should I tell my gift-giving daughter? — GRATEFUL MOM IN FLORIDA

DEAR MOM: When your daughter comes to visit, she will notice the clock is missing. Talk to her. Explain that since you have relocated, you no longer have room for the beautiful clock she gave you, and ask what she would like you to do with it -- including offering it to her sister who might enjoy it as you did. There will be less guilt for you and fewer hurt feelings for your daughter if you keep everything open and aboveboard.

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.