KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Dad should be given more time to grieve

Dear Annie: Last year, my mother died. A woman who works at the mortuary (I'll call her "Lydia") helped us acquire a burial plot and also arranged for my father to purchase the plot next to Mom. Within a month of my mother's passing, Lydia and Dad began dating.
I'm not going to waste time telling you my thoughts of this disgusting situation. I just want to know, would it be wrong to ask my father to sell me the plot next to Mom? I don't think he deserves to be buried there. No Class Act in Hawaii
Dear Hawaii: If your father marries Lydia, you can ask him to sell you the plot. Otherwise, please give him some time to get over the loss of your mother. We know it doesn't seem as if he is grieving, but it is not uncommon for widowers to begin dating soon after their wives die. They are lonely and bereft, and easy pickings for any woman who takes the time to console them.
Instead of being angry with Dad, try to be understanding. Get grief counseling, and suggest he do the same. Then allow him to live his life as he chooses.
Dear Annie: I read in the newspaper that a blind great-horned owl was found near death from starvation. A team of veterinarians implanted contacts, thus saving the owl's vision so that it could hunt. Years ago, I read a story about a tarantula with a life-threatening abscess on its abdomen. Veterinarians removed the abscess, even though this surgery could have killed the arachnid. A real tearjerker, right?
People are quick to donate money to save animals that need medical care. I have a serious problem with this. We live in a country that can provide surgeries for animals but allows thousands of human patients to die for lack of money. While there are many generous doctors and hospitals who donate their services, too many patients are faced with lowered quality of life because they cannot pay medical bills.
I say, leave the horned owl alone and use the donated money to save a human being. Tracy in Nashville, Tenn.
Dear Tracy: Most people will reach into their pocketbooks if you can pull on their heartstrings, and for some, it's easier to feel sorry for a helpless animal than it is for, say, a transplant patient. There are many generous doctors who donate their time and skills to treat the less fortunate, both animal and human. But we agree decent medical care in this country is beyond the means of those who don't have insurance -- and too many people fall into that category. Something needs to be done.
Dear Annie: I am going to be a junior in college in a different state from the one my parents live in. Although I have several friends here, I have three best friends.
Recently, these friends decided we should all get an apartment together next year. Although I would love to move in with my friends, I don't think I can afford it. I'd have to get another job and possibly a loan. The job would prevent me from visiting my family during school breaks. My friends live near the school and would be able to go home every weekend -- leaving me alone. Not to mention, what happens next summer when they leave and I'm stuck holding down the fort?
If I do not get the apartment, I will not see these friends more than a few times each semester. It has taken me two years to build the relationships I have now. I don't want to lose them, and I don't want to start over. I don't know what to do. Moving
Dear Moving: It's never good to be so attached to one group of people that you are afraid to be without them. You can still socialize with your friends, at their apartment and elsewhere, without being a full-fledged roommate. Circumstance has handed you an opportunity to branch out. You should make good use of it.
XE-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@com-cast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, Ill. 60611.
Creators Syndicate

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