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January 26, 2010 / Wendy Joan

A Questionable Dear Abby

Newspapers mess up.

Similarly, I think this Dear Abby column might be the collective by-product of a careless editorial staff.  Something about “She also says if we don’t carry out her wishes, she will come back and haunt us” is more than a little suspicious:

Dear Abby: My mother is a spry, 75- year-old woman who has expressed an unusual request. She has told us “kids” that when she is called by the angels, she wants to be dressed in an aqua nightgown or PJs, and to be lying on her side. She says she will be sleeping for a long time, and she wants to make sure she’s comfortable. She also says if we don’t carry out her wishes, she will come back and haunt us.

I have attended many wakes, but I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this done before. What do you think?

—Wants To Do Right By Mama in Massachusetts

Dear Wants To Do Right: I think it’s wonderful that your mother is discussing this now and I hope your letter will encourage more readers to begin this kind of important conversation with their loved ones. Because the alternative is to be “haunted” to eternity, you should honor your mother’s wishes. But because laws vary from state to state, readers who want to find out what the law is in their state should visit www.funerals.org and view the Personal Preference page.

If Playing House had an advice column, what questions would you ask?

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