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Family Breadwinner Gives Good Health Short Shrift

DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful husband of almost 20 years and two teenage children. My husband is incredibly hardworking in his stressful career and has provided a very comfortable life for us. The trouble is, he puts work ahead of any self-care. He works most waking hours, doesn’t eat well, exercises rarely, is overweight — the list goes on. When I ask/encourage/nag him to make positive lifestyle choices, he reminds me of the life insurance he has and turns it around on me and says I am stressing him.

Abby, I love my husband, and I worry that this will cut his life and our life together short. Can you help? — BESIDE MYSELF WITH WORRY

DEAR BESIDE YOURSELF: I wish I could wave a magic wand and make your husband receptive to what you are trying to do for him. But until he’s ready to address these issues and do something about them, nothing will change.

If he enjoys his career and takes pride in the fact that you and your children are — and will be — provided for, then he’s living the life he has chosen for himself. This does not mean you must give up entirely suggesting healthy lifestyle choices, but perhaps do it a little less often and in terms of activities he might enjoy.

DEAR ABBY: After a long and successful life, my uncle recently passed away. His wife is my mother’s sister. During one of our phone calls, she told me she and my cousins had written his obituary and that it would be published soon. To my shock and dismay, I located the obituary and discovered that my sister and I were not mentioned as his niece and nephew. I am still terribly hurt. Why would they do this?

My sister and I grew up spending every major holiday and birthday with my uncle. The obituary did include his other niece and nephew who live on the opposite side of the country and kept in touch only with an occasional phone call and holiday card. I included my cousins in my parents’ and sister’s obituaries, all of whom have passed in the last few years.

I feel that I must address this with them, but I don’t want to add to the pain they are going through while they mourn their loss. I now dread attending the memorial because I’m worried friends of our family may bring it up, and I won’t know what to say. — HURT NEPHEW IN ILLINOIS

DEAR NEPHEW: Even when a death is expected, many people go into a state of shock, which interferes with their ability to sequence facts. It is entirely possible that the obituary was written when your aunt and cousins weren’t thinking straight, which is why you were omitted. If someone brings it up at the memorial — which I doubt will happen — rather than nurse hurt feelings, I hope you will point out that the family, including you, is grieving. Period.

DEAR ABBY: How do you politely ask a neighbor to mow his lawn at reasonable times of the day? Mine seems to be doing it three days a week and always when we want to enjoy our backyard. — TRYING TO RELAX

DEAR TRYING: If you are on speaking terms with this neighbor, explain that the noise from his lawnmower interferes with your ability to enjoy your backyard and ask POLITELY if he could schedule it at another hour of the day. If he is a good neighbor, he should be willing to accommodate you.

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

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