Dear Annie: I was close to both my parents growing up, but not so close to my siblings. My father died a year ago. Although we were all involved in caring for him, I was the one who helped him plan his funeral. When he died, I placed in his hands a personal note, along with pictures of his great-grandchildren.

One of my brothers removed the note and read it to my other siblings in the limousine on the way to the cemetery (I was in another car). Last week, my sister confessed to me that all of them laughed at my final, personal words to my dad. She was remorseful and thought I should know.

What kind of people do such hateful things? —Dad's Daughter

Dear Daughter: We're not certain what really happened in that limo, but we can assure you that people often have peculiar reactions when a loved one dies. We've heard from readers who have burst out laughing during the memorial service, giggled at the graveside, stolen flowers and mementoes, blurted out insulting comments — and none of it means they are not grieving deeply. These are often uncontrolled coping mechanisms, albeit inappropriate. And it sounds as if Dad may have been closer to you than your siblings, which could have engendered some jealousy. We also question the wisdom of your sister, who cleared her conscience at your expense, although she probably thought she was doing the right thing. It serves no purpose to hang on to this hurt. Please try to forgive them.

Dear Annie: I recently received an invitation to the wedding of a close friend, "Irene." During our conversations, Irene has been saying things like, "Only 20 days until the marriage." But, Annie, the date on the invitation is not the same as the one she keeps telling me is approaching.

When I questioned Irene, she hemmed and hawed and finally admitted the actual ceremony is on a different date and the invitations are for the reception — which will be three months after the marriage.

Is this common? I should also add that the ceremony is local, so travel is not a problem. I am a little hurt and miffed. I will send a gift, but do I need to go to the reception? —Not Close Enough

Dear Not Close: It is not uncommon to have a separate reception, weeks or even months after the marriage, if, for example, the wedding is immediate family only, a closed religious ceremony, at the local courthouse, an elopement, or is rushed because the bride is pregnant or one of them must leave for military service, etc. The only reason to be offended is if other friends of your stature were invited to the ceremony. Otherwise, please attend the reception and have a great time.

Dear Annie: I had to make the hardest phone call of my life. I called the police to arrest my 16-year-old son. I've been dealing with his marijuana addiction since he was 13. I was always watching him, searching his room, his pockets and even his friends. I have talked, begged and pleaded with him to stop using, to no avail.

Five months ago, I found a bag of marijuana in his room and turned him in. He was given six months' probation and 25 hours of community service. When I found pot in his room two nights ago, I called the police. He now sits in juvenile detention awaiting trial on probation violations.

I am sure I am his biggest enemy right now, but I hope one day he will realize I am trying to save his life. The drug dealers don't care about our children. I don't want advice. I just want to share my story.—Mom in Virginia

Dear Mom: We know this has been hard for you. You didn't ask for advice, but please look into BILY (becauseIloveyou.org), P.O. Box 2062, Winnetka, CA 91396-2062.

Dear Annie: Our son is getting married at the end of May. It will be an evening wedding and the invitations suggest cocktail attire.

My husband thinks a light tan summer suit is fine, but I say it does not fit cocktail attire. I'm trying to convince him to wear a black suit. Please help.—Questioning Cocktail Attire in Virginia

Dear Virginia: Your husband is wrong. As the father of the groom, his style should match that of the groomsmen. Unless they all are wearing light tan summer suits, his choice is inappropriate, and for an evening event, he really ought to be more formally attired. Even if he is not participating in the ceremony and all the male guests show up in khaki, Dad should be wearing, at minimum, a dark suit.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.