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Publication: Dear Abby
Parents Protecting Son Cut Off Contact With Grandparents

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        ABBY - May 13, 2008 
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ABBY: I am in my sunset years and not well. I know my time 
is short, but I have one bright spot in my life -- my 5-
year-old grandson, "Connor."

Because the little fella stayed with us after preschool and
spent much time with us, my wife and I are especially fond 
of him.

Our problem? Connor's dad (our son) and his wife (the child's 
mother) disapprove of our fondness for Connor. They say they 
don't want the boy "hurt" by my impending death and now keep 
him away from us as much as possible.

Abby, we adore our grandchild. We're heartbroken that he is 
being kept away from us much of the time simply because his 
parents are afraid he will grieve when his Paw-Paw dies. 
What should we do? 

PAW-PAW: Your son and daughter-in-law mean well, but they 
are misguided in trying to "protect" their son from one of 
the inescapable realities of life. They may be trying to 
avoid their own issues having to do with death.

You need to have a serious talk with them. Connor's 
relationship with you and his grandmother is a positive one, 
regardless of the state of your health. It might be helpful 
to enlist the assistance of your spiritual adviser and/or
your physician.

Death is a part of life, and as sad as these partings may 
be, children usually recover with amazing resiliency. To 
cheat Connor -- and you -- out of the short time you have 
left together is a mistake.


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ABBY: I have been involved with "Alex" for almost five years. 
We have lived together for two of these five years and have 
been having problems in the last year or so.

I'm interested in getting some kind of relationship counseling, 
as I am confident we can work things out once the lines of 
communication are opened again. My problem is I don't know 
where to look. I often hear about marriage counseling. Is that
only for married people? If you have any ideas, I'd be grateful. 

BECKIE: Your physician should be able to refer you to a 
counselor who can help. Marriage counseling is a form of 
couples counseling or relationship counseling, and it will 
work for any couple -- married or not -- who are willing to 
work at it. 

If Alex is open to the idea, some sessions could help you 
establish healthier, more direct and meaningful communication 
with each other. I hope you can talk him into going and wish 
you the best of luck.

ABBY: I have recently moved from New Jersey to Florida. When
I am invited to someone's home for a party or dinner, I 
always bring a hostess gift, wine or dessert. However, when 
I invite these people to my home, they wrap or pack up what 
they brought and take it with them when they leave.

I have never experienced this where I was raised. Is this 

NEWCOMER: Not where I come from it isn't. The term "hostess 
gift" means it is a GIFT for the person hosting the party 
or dinner. It should be left with the host or hostess to 
enjoy at any time the person wishes -- and it does not have 
to be shared with the guests. To march into the person's 
kitchen, wrap and take home the unused portion without it 
being offered is just plain rude.

ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 

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