Dear Annie: This is a problem I know my family will have pretty soon. My mother married my stepfather, “Skip,” after my father died 19 years ago. My stepfather had eight children before they got married, so I have eight stepsiblings. My mom died a few years ago.
Three of Skip’s sons won’t speak to him or visit because he gave his daughter power of attorney and they were very upset by that. Anyway, the problem now is that Skip doesn’t want his sons at his funeral at all. Besides these three sons, he has another son and four daughters. He’s told all five of them to make sure the other three don’t show.
My question is: What can be done to get them to stay away at the funeral without causing a problem and without getting the law involved? Please help me to tell them how to fix this. — Very Unhappy
Dear Very Unhappy: You can try keeping the location of the service a secret and let all invited guests know to keep the address to themselves because it’s a private event. If the service is being held on private property, you can explain the situation to the owners and ask for their assistance in keeping out unwanted guests, who would technically be trespassing.
All that said, the onus is on the three brothers to respect their father’s final wishes. Should they manage to attend the funeral, keep the focus off them and on remembering and celebrating the life of your stepfather.
Dear Annie: I’d would like to say this message to “Riley,” the 15-year-old boy whose family rejected him because he’s gay.
Riley, I was moved by your letter. Please know that I care about you because you seem to me, from your letter, to be the type of person who has a lot to give to the world.
Everyone must come to terms with self-acceptance. Sometimes our friends are more supportive than our families. I hope you’ll surround yourself with positive people who will listen to you and give you a hug. Consider talking to a school counselor or a friend’s compassionate parent.
Know there will always be many people who care about you and the choices you make. — Hugs From Your Surrogate Mom
Dear Surrogate Mom: Riley’s letter has provoked an outpouring of love. Hundreds of readers have written in to express their support for the young man. To any young person facing rejection because of your sexuality: There are people rooting for you with all their hearts.