Dear Abby: We live in a small town where everyone knows each other.

Dear Abby: We live in a small town where everyone knows each other. People here have fallen like flies from COVID-19. My brother recently died from the virus, which is now spreading through his family, including his grandchildren. He was very present in our city and held a public office.

While everyone has delayed the commemorations until a safer time, his wife (my sister-in-law) insists on a church service. We tried to encourage her to wait, but she says she has to put this behind her. Because my brother was so popular, we expect the whole town to show up. My siblings all go, but I refuse to attend. There will be a live broadcast for those who cannot be there in person, which I plan to take advantage of.

How do you get people to take this virus seriously, especially since there are now new variants that are spread even more easily?

Sister responsible in the South

Dear Responsible Sister: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother. I am sure his absence will be felt by many in your community. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, you’d think people would accept the need to be careful, even paying a final tribute to someone as important as your brother. It is possible that in her grief, your sister-in-law does not fully understand that what she is up to could endanger people who are dear to her.

Talk to the pastor who will be officiating at the funeral and express your concern for public safety. Then ask if there is a way for grievers who come in person to socially distance themselves during the service. It is worth a try and could prevent more tragedy.

Dear Abby: My husband and I have been together for 15 years. During the last two of them, he grew distant. We lived as a family for almost 10 years. At the start of the year, we finally found our place, but nothing has changed. He likes to drink his beer after work. I asked him not to do it, but he does it anyway. I caught him lie after lie about his drinking and the jobs he quit in recent years.

As long as I go with the flow, everything is fine. When I get mad he always promises to do better, but it never lasts long. Last month I caught him texting another woman and inviting her to lunch. He even texted that he would plan a trip and let him know! When I asked about it he told me he was drunk and it was stupid. Am I overreacting or has my husband for 15 years not been in this marriage?

Anguished in Alabama

Dear anguished: You are not overdoing it. Whether your husband is drinking because he is no longer “in” your marriage or because he is unhappy with other things going on in his life, anyone can guess. The question is, are you still in this marriage and the person your husband has become? Unless these issues are resolved, your marriage doesn’t stand a chance.

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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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