My Brother Hasn’t Buried Our Mother’s Ashes Yet, and I’m Mad

My mother died in June and was cremated as she wished. For practical reasons, my brother captured his ashes. It is now March, and he has not done a single thing about burying his ashes next to my father, as he requested. When I reminded him, he got defensive and changed the subject.

My brother had a difficult relationship with my mother, as he does with me. Since his death, he has focused on dividing his property and preparing his home for sale. His behavior annoys me a lot. I find it unconscious! Of course, burying ashes in another state presents logistic issues, but my mother left the money for burial. I would only make a concession to work full time and I would retire (though he managed to take a week off). Your thoughts?

Grounding walker

I am very sorry for your loss. I also regret losing your brother. I think you are wrong, though, if you feel that her grief has subsided, because she had a difficult relationship with your mother. Complex connections can often lead to more punitive unhappiness.

I am also plagued by the unfair division here. You say that it was “practical” for your brother to take your mother’s ashes. Is it practical for him to manage the sale of his property and his house on his own while you stand by nursing complaints? If you are not satisfied in your brother’s speed, pitch.

If we have learned anything during an epidemic, it is that many tasks can be completed remotely. Call the funeral home director, arrange for a shipment (or pickup) of the ashes and schedule a burial. If you and your brother want to join, make a date. If he still survives the subject, then proceed on your own. (And leave little cracks about working people, okay?

Credit …Christoph Neiman

My husband and I have modest income and retirement savings, but not much cash. This spring, our only child will graduate from college. He lives at home and receives generous financial support, so he has only $ 6,000 in low-interest debt. (We paid her tuition.) Issue: How to spend our next incentive check? My son and I want to use the money for ligament surgery for our middle-aged bull. (The dog is in chronic pain.) My husband wants to use the money to pay off a car loan and give the rest to his son as a graduation gift. help!


Well, since you dropped the price tag of surgery and car loans (and I’m not a vet), let’s discuss the procedure and values ​​instead. A family meeting was called to discuss the allocation of incentive checks. Many times, efforts are made to ensure that everyone is more important than the agreement that is heard.

Theoretically, your son would agree to give a cash gift. He wants to help the dog. Between alleviating the pain of a family pet and paying off a car loan, it would be an easy call for me. (But I’m not part of your family!) If you both decide to do and the incentive check is not enough, focus on preserving high-interest, low-interest loans to reduce credit card debt. Keep it.

My friend finally divorced her husband after years of complaining about him. After the divorce was final, my husband established a cousin with his friend’s ex. I felt that when she was happy to get rid of him, she would not care. wrong! She told me she was disappointed I did not ask her permission. I did not apologize because I do not think I did anything wrong. Now my friend is not talking to me. who is right?


Have you ever had an ex? For many of us, they trigger ambitious feelings, even as we relieve them from following us. It may not be strictly rational to resent your friend and your husband for setting up the man with whom he was (mostly) unhappy, but it does not surprise me.

What’s more shocking here is that it is your desire to isolate a friend by accidentally refusing to apologize for hurting your feelings. Such inhomogeneity may be more damaging to relationships than inherent harm. Why not say: “I didn’t know it would hurt you, but I’m sorry we did.”

My husband and I were married four years ago. We sent thank you notes to half our guests, then ran out of steam. There was no rhyme or logic to those who had or did not have notes, and we had no excuse. We feel guilty about this, and we know that it was inconsistent. Is it too weird to send the rest of the thank-you notes now, or should we just let ourselves off the hook at this point?


You’re really testing the “better late than never” limit! But I will send the remaining notes. People are more likely to surprise and appreciate them than to express displeasure at your delay. As for the text of the notes, you hit the high points in your letter: so sorry, no excuse, really thankful for your lovely gift. Now, complete them!

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to, to Philip alleys on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip On twitter

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