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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Married couple needn’t agree on after-death wishes

by Abigail Van Buren | August 20, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

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. He wants a full funeral and to be buried in our hometown, 2½ hours away from where live.

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 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. — 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. 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.

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.)

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 P.O.Box 69440,LosAngeles,CA 90069 or visit


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