DEAR AMY: My husband and I are in our 70s. Between us, we have 11 siblings who are in their 80s.
My husband feels we should attend the funerals that probably will be coming up soon (we live on the West Coast and they live in the East).
The problem is that we do not have the money to do this, even with bereavement fares.
Is there a way to handle this without seeming callous?
I also need to have my husband understand that it's not doable in terms of our budget.
— Margaret, Seattle
DEAR MARGARET: I'd like to suggest an alternative to your fretting about attending multiple funerals that haven't happened yet.
If you can possibly manage it and if your health is stable, I'd suggest making a grand swing through the country this summer to visit as many siblings as possible while you're all still here.
Make the very most of your visit and enjoy the company of your family members while you can.
Airfares have gone down recently, and you could have someone work with you using budget travel Websites to plan the most economical way to make your tour.
Tell yourselves that you won't fret about future travels until the sad need arises.
DEAR AMY: Letters in your column about how painful Mother's Day can be have struck a chord with me, not for Mother's Day but for Father's Day.
My youngest son's father is a deadbeat dad who never sees him.
My oldest two sons' father committed suicide two years ago, when they were teens.
He was a very involved father. You can imagine the grief we feel.
Our first Father's Day without him was three months after he died.
I was grocery shopping with my oldest son and the bagger very innocently asked him what his plans were for Father's Day.
We were shocked into silence, and I will never forget the twisted, terrible look of grief on my son's face.
We said nothing, of course. This is why I never wish anyone a happy Mother's Day or Father's Day unless I know his or her situation.
You never know the tragedies other people are dealing with, though I try not to get upset with people who innocently extend salutations.
I wish Father's Day was never invented, but who am I to disregard the good fathers who haven't abandoned their families? My own father is one of them!
— Grief Every Father's Day
DEAR GRIEF: This issue has caused a lot of traffic in my in-box; I can only hope that people pondering these special honor days realize, as you do, that you simply never know what issues people are dealing with.
I also hope that people who are grieving and sad realize that these remarks and greetings are innocent in nature.
I can only hope that you and your sons will handle your challenging feelings on this day openly and with grace. They have had a raw deal — but they have you, and in that regard they're lucky.
DEAR AMY: I am a 13-year-old girl who is an athletic swimmer. My mother loves my swimming, but for pool parties and visits to the water park she will not let me wear a bikini.
A friend of mine whose mother is very conservative will let her daughter wear a string bikini for swimming.
My mother will let me wear an athletic two-piece, which means it will be very form fitting and generally very ugly.
How can I persuade her to let me wear a decent bikini?
— Tired of Tank Suits
DEAR TIRED: Your mother's job is to help you choose appropriate clothing according to her sense of what is acceptable. She may think there is no such thing as a "decent bikini."
You can try to negotiate your way into a different suit, perhaps by pointing out that athletic two-pieces can be more revealing than bikinis because they're like a second skin. Otherwise, ask her to agree to what age you should be to wear a bikini, and look forward to that summer.
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