Dear Abby: Couple needn’t agree on after-death wishes
Dear Abby: My husband and I disagree about our arrangements after we pass away. I would like to be cremated and scattered at a location with wonderful memories, like where we honeymooned. He wants a full funeral and to be buried in our hometown, hours away from where we have been living for almost 20 years.
I don’t have a lot of love for our hometown, and am estranged from my family. When I asked why he would want to be buried there, he joked that his kids won’t come to visit him wherever he is, so at least his high school buddies can come to the cemetery, drink a beer and toast him.
I do not want to waver from being cremated. I feel the land is for the living. But I also worry it would be regarded as odd not to be in the same plot. Now I joke that I hope I die first because I don’t want to have to honor his wishes. It’s not a joking matter, though, and I’d appreciate advice about our disagreement.
— Still Alive in Michigan
Dear Still Alive: Your last wishes are as important as your husband’s. Stop worrying about what “people” might say if you aren’t buried together. If you predecease him, make sure your last wishes are in writing and hope they will be respected. If he dies first, carry out his last wishes. If he believes his old high school buddies will make a pilgrimage to the cemetery each year to toast him, suggest he leave enough money to pay for the six-packs — on an annual basis — and identify a cause to which it should be donated in the event they fail to show up.
Dear Abby: For years I told my mom and sister that I did not want to have “Happy Birthday” sung to me on MY day. Year after year, they ignored my feelings and did whatever the heck they wanted. This persisted from about my 20th birthday through my 40th.
On my 40th birthday, I told them it was the last time I would tolerate my feelings being ignored. They did it again the next year, but when I asked for an apology, all I got from them were fake apologies and lame excuses. I will forever hate my day because it reminds me of how long my feelings were ignored and how my day was made all about their wishes. How can I love somebody who doesn’t care about my feelings?
I am now nearing my 62nd birthday. They continue to bring up the subject of celebrations for all of our birthdays, and I continue to tell them I don’t “do” birthdays anymore. Their refusal to acknowledge my feelings causes me pain. What can I do?
— No Fanfare in the Midwest
Dear No Fanfare: Feeling as you do about your thickheaded relatives, see less of them. If they contact you to discuss birthday celebrations, remember you do not have to participate.
In the future, if they suggest doing something for your next birthday, tell them you already have plans. (It’s the truth: You plan to avoid them.)
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