Abby Advice: Sibling floored by widow’s actions

DEAR ABBY >> My brother passed away. He and my sister-in-law had a good marriage. Amonth after his funeral, my sister-in-law gave her kids their father’s clothes, instructedthem to go through them, keep what they wanted or sell or donate the rest. It has beenbarely a year. Now she’s redecorating their house — painting, taking down pictures andbuying new furniture.

This bothers me greatly. I’m so hurt that everything is being changed. It’s like she’s tryingto erase him — all within one year! Should I ask her why everything is being changed anddisposed of so soon? And should I feel so hurt about this?

— Unsure How to Feel

DEAR UNSURE >> Your former sister-in-law appears to be more pragmatic thansentimental, and there is nothing wrong with that. She knew her late husband could nolonger use his wardrobe, and saw no reason to keep the items hanging in the closet. Thatshe offered his clothes to her children was appropriate. That she is now making changes tothe house is not unusual. People are cautioned not to make “important decisions” for abouta year after a spouse passes, and your former SIL has wisely refrained.

If you want to ask her why she’s changing things, do so in a non-accusatory way that won’toffend her. I suspect that you are feeling hurt because you are still not ready to accept thatyour brother is gone forever. You might find it helpful to talk about it with someone withexpertise in the grieving process.

DEAR ABBY >> My husband and I have been married for nine years. While we were dating,he was kind, considerate and loving. After we married, he turned into a chronic complainer,something he later confessed he had been hiding while we dated.

He talks to me like I’m trash and then gets nice when he wants something. He complainsabout my grown children, my best friend and even if I leave for work a couple of minutesearly. He is a miserable person. I cannot do anything to make him happy. I can’t take thisanymore.

He has taken the things away from me that I love — flowers, gardening, pets, books, friends,etc. I’m ready to leave, but he has cancer and I’d feel guilty. He is clear right now, but it willcome back.

I don’t want to stay. Life is too short to live this way. He has a great support system with hisfamily. They would take care of him. My health has been affected by him and his terribleattitude. What do I do?

— Worn-out Wife

DEAR WIFE >> What you do now is consult a lawyer, pack your bags and leave before he worsens.

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