Originally Published: April 22, 2017 6:02 a.m.
Dear Annie: My brother was killed in a tragic accident 12 years ago. He had made clear that when he passed away, he wanted no viewing and that he wanted to be cremated. Those wishes were carried out just as he wanted.
The problem is that his two children, who are grown adults, have chosen to not have contact with me for whatever reason they seem to deem appropriate. I have had my brother’s ashes in my home office, sitting on a shelf, all these years.
Some time ago, I sent a text to both my niece and my nephew regarding spreading their father’s ashes, with an idea of where they could be released. His daughter fired back at me in a text that went on and on, blaming me for anything and everything she could. It was straight out of left field. My nephew thanked me for contacting him and said not to do anything until he got back in town. (He was on a trip.)
Then their mother, my brother’s ex-wife, fired back at me with threats and curse words. I blocked my niece and her mother so they couldn’t send any more vile words to me.
I sent out a text to my nephew and asked him nicely to arrange a date and time for him to come and pick up the ashes. I did not get a response. I received a text from a cousin of mine stating that if I did not hand them over, he would never speak to me again. Well, he hasn’t spoken to me since, but no one will respond when I ask for someone to pick the ashes up!
What should I do now? Should I take it upon myself to release them? This is absolutely heartbreaking, and my brother would hate what is going on with his ashes. I am open to doing whatever would be in everyone’s best interest, but I do not know what that is. So could you please let me know what to do now? -- Ashes to Ashes
Dear Ashes: Without knowing all the details here, I can’t offer any insight into your relatives’ oddly aggressive (or, in your nephew’s case, passive) behavior. Regardless, the smartest course is to deliver these ashes to your nephew as soon as possible. The United States Postal Service offers the only legal method of shipping cremated remains. Visit the USPS website or call your post office for guidelines about how to prepare, package and ship ashes.
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to the woman who was sexually abused in past relationships and is afraid to enter into another serious relationship because of her fear it would have to involve sex. My heart goes out to this woman because I know how she feels.
My mother died when I was very small. My brother and I were sent to live at our grandmother’s, where we were subjected to sexual abuse. That experience left me both physically and mentally scarred. I never dated anyone until I met the man who became my husband. My husband knew going in I had this baggage -- and a more wonderful man never lived. He has never forced me to do anything I’m not comfortable with, and we have been able to enjoy each other sexually in other ways. He has never complained. He has just been patient and loving and understanding.
There are men out there who would be like my husband and treat this poor woman gently and compassionately. She just needs to be honest and upfront about her past. If a man really loves and cares for her, it will not matter. I pray she finds the right man. They are out there. -- Found Compassion in Wisconsin
Dear Found: Thank you for sharing your hopeful story. I’m sure it will bring others comfort.
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