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Posted on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Uncle's ashes 'temporarily' housed in mom's mausoleum

By Dear Abby

My 87-year-old mother recently discovered that the mausoleum site she had reserved for herself next to my father's grave -- and paid for when he died -- was occupied by my uncle's ashes and headstone. Mom had moved away 20 years ago and had not visited the cemetery in all that time.

My cousin's explanation, when confronted by my tearful mom, was that it was a "temporary solution" as the mausoleum was full at the time of my uncle's death. They were planning to move him. Apparently, it has taken 14 years for them to get around to it.

Mom had to send a notarized letter to the cemetery asking that my uncle's remains be removed. My cousins, who are wealthy and successful people, saved $800 by using my mother's prepaid site. Should Mom charge them rent? -- BEWILDERED IN CALIFORNIA

I don't think your mother should ask your cousins for "rent," but I do think your mother should contact the owners of the cemetery and ask what they plan to do to compensate her for her distress. Frankly, I don't understand how they could have allowed your uncle's ashes to be placed in her reserved site. The ball will then be in their court -- and if they are ethical and responsible, they may offer free opening and closing costs at the time of her death.

My daughter "Joy" is 19. She attended a small school with about 40 other students in her grade. She never had a boyfriend -- or even a date -- until the first week of college a year ago. The boy was a high school classmate of hers. They became engaged before he went off to boot camp.

My husband and I are extremely concerned because of Joy's age and inexperience. Her fiance is OK, but we feel they are not for each other. We're positive she could find someone more compatible, but who's going to approach her with that ring on her finger? I feel my daughter has low self-esteem and is afraid she won't find anyone else. How do we make Joy see that she's too young and inexperienced to make such an important decision? -- MAMA KNOWS BETTER IN OHIO

You can't. As well-meaning and caring a mother as you are, if you try to tell your daughter what you have in mind you will only make her defensive. Instead, encourage her to wait until her fiance returns home and she either has her college degree or is close to it before they tie the knot. It will go a long way to making her more employable when she starts a career of her own. And if her fiance decides to make a career of the military, it will make her more employable as they are transferred from place to place.

It's almost Halloween and parents need to teach their children that if a house does not have its porch light on, it means the resident will not be handing out candy or other treats.

There are many reasons people don't participate. Some people run out of treats early, while others simply can't afford to buy candy in the first place. These homes should not be targeted with "tricks" or vandalism. Simply skip the house with the lights off and move on to the next one that has its lights on. -- LIGHTS ON IN CALIFORNIA

Your letter is a timely one, and I'm glad you brought the subject up because what you have written is correct. Some people do not participate in Halloween for religious and other reasons, and their beliefs should be respected.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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