DEAR ABBY: We got married and had children very late in life, so our children are by far the youngest in our extended family. When they graduated from high school, we tried to throw a party (with the many parents on my partner’s side and a small number on mine), but only three people could come. There could have been 50.

Some of my partner’s siblings were going away for the weekend, some had sporting events with their grandkids (baseball games), and my own brother was babysitting so could only stop for a few minutes. Needless to say, we had faithfully attended every family event so far, but no one felt the need to help us celebrate when it was our turn.

Our children have been ignored now that our siblings’ grandchildren have arrived. This is not the only story I could tell like this; I could write a book. Therefore, we have decided that because our children have been ignored, we will not celebrate next generation events. Our loved ones seem puzzled that we weren’t so captivated by their grandkids’ preschool graduations and first birthdays, but, hey, where were they?

The funny thing is, they seem to believe that my grown children didn’t notice they were being ignored. They have little interaction with “loving” parents who snubbed them. Are we wrong to feel this? – MIFFE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR MIFFE: No, you are human. However, more honest communication with those loved ones at the time this was happening could have avoided the schism created by their self-centered behavior. Your situation is unfortunate, but I can’t blame your children – or you – for feeling the way you all feel.

DEAR ABBY: I am a grieving mother. My only son was murdered six months ago. He was 36 years old. I had no insurance and am making payments to pay for funeral home costs. I would love a headstone for his grave and found one for $1500.

My life will never be the same again. I know I need to see a counselor because it got the better of me and I don’t know how to move on. Besides, my sister died two months ago and I can’t sleep. Help me please. — SAD IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR SAD: I am so sorry for the tragic loss of not only your beloved son, but also your sister. A headstone for your son’s grave may have to wait, as it’s very important that you make an effort to take care of yourself for a while.

If you haven’t joined a bereavement support group, think about it. There is also a support group, the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children (, who can provide you with the emotional support you need. If you have a doctor, it is important to let them know about your sleep issues. Considering the double dose of trauma you have suffered, your doctor should not be surprised and may be able to provide you with medication to help you. Please write again and let me know how you are. It’s important to me.

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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares over 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby”. Send your name and mailing address, along with a check or money order for $16 (in US dollars), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling charges are included in the price.)