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Dear Abby 5/25
Toddler has started asking questions about absent dad
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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 60s and raising our 4-year-old grandson. His mother is incarcerated, and the father signed away his rights a couple of years ago.
    The child is starting to ask questions about his father. How much of the truth should we tell him? -- STUMPED IN CORPUS CHRISTI
    DEAR STUMPED: Be as honest with your grandson as you can without being cruel. Explain that when he was born, his father "wasn't ready" to be a father, so it was his wish that you take care of his son.
    If the boy asks where his father is, tell him he is "far away." (Even if he lives across town, emotionally he is far away.) As your grandson grows older, he will have to be told more of the truth. But the information he receives should be age appropriate.
    Please don't think your situation is unique. Millions of children today are being raised by their grandparents. Grandparents As Parents (GAP) is a support network where grandparents like you can share feelings and find support. The mailing address is: GAP, 22048 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303. The Web site is When you contact this organization, you may be surprised to learn how much company you have on this "adventure" of parenthood the second time around.

    DEAR ABBY: I am in the process of a divorce. My wife said she doesn't love me anymore and found love in another man's arms. I poured out my heart to "Marta," a mutual friend of ours, and she helped me through it all. Marta also had a lot of issues, and I did the same for her.
    Later on, we found ourselves attracted to each other. However, we have decided not to pursue a relationship because we don't want to hurt other people. Marta and my wife work together. (Also, Marta is still with someone else.)
    Should we dismiss our feelings for the sake of others or go for it for the sake of our happiness? -- CONFUSED IN TEXAS
    DEAR CONFUSED: If Marta is married, she owes it to her husband to see if they can work out their problems. If she's not married, then I see no reason why you and she should not give your relationship a chance and see where it leads. The fact that Marta works with your wife should have no bearing on the matter.
    P.S. Answering your question would have been simpler if you had made clear who the "others" are you would sacrifice your happiness for.

    DEAR ABBY: A man I know is devastated by the loss of his 19-year-old son. The young man was a high school graduate, an excellent student and an athlete. The police are still investigating, but it seems he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time — a victim of random violence.
    I'm at a loss as to how to help my friend. Is there any kind of support group that might help him get through this? -- DAN IN DETROIT
    DEAR DAN: Yes, there is. It's the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, a group that was founded in 1978. With 300 chapters, it provides mutual support to people who have survived the violent death of a loved one as they seek to heal from their loss. It would be a kindness to refer your friend to the Web site:, or give him the toll-free phone number: (888) 818-7662.
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