Dear Abby: "Nobody's Grandma" (June 12) is sad about her children's desire to remain childless. I would encourage her to seek out a family in her neighborhood, church or other shared connections who live far from family or have no grandparents.

I lived far from both sets of grandparents when I was young. An older couple who lived next door "adopted" us. They invited my siblings and me over to bake cookies and play cards and filled the grandparent void in our young lives. In turn, we looked out for them and included them in our family events.

They were dear, special people to whom I remain indebted for their love and kindness. My children now play with the handcrafted toys from "Grandpa's" workshop, and I still make "Grandma's" wonderful angel food cake. — An Adopted Grandchild in Waynesville, Ohio

Dear Grandchild: Your experience with your adopted grandparents exemplifies my advice to "Nobody's Grandma." While many of my readers agreed with me, a few offered a different perspective. Read on:

Dear Abby: The offspring of "Nobody's Grandma" should be congratulated on their decision. Worldwide food shortages, poverty, pollution, global warming and religious bigotry against birth control have resulted in the greatest crisis facing the world today — overpopulation. — An 83-Year-Old "Opa"

Dear Abby: Have you heard of the Foster Grandparent Program? It's a federal program for people 60 years old and older. We work with children who need a little extra help in schools or in other areas where needed. The children I "foster" say I'm more like a grandma to them than some of their own grandmothers. I love and nurture them like my own — and I have 26 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. — Grandma Anita

Dear Abby: I sympathize with "Nobody's Grandma." I will probably never have grandchildren either because my only child has developmental disabilities. Sometimes I feel cheated, but I have learned it is better to appreciate what you have and to accept what you can't change. — C.T. in Hawaii

Dear Abby: Although my wife and I are blessed with nine biological grandkids, with No. 10 on the way, about a dozen or more children call us "Grandma" and "Grandpa." While our kids were growing up, we tended to informally collect other kids from less-than-happy homes who called us Mom and Dad. These young folks grew up and had children of their own who consider us their grandparents.

Look around your community. There are many children who desperately need grandparents to love and be loved by. Your life, as well as theirs, will be greatly enriched. — Everybody's Grandpa

Dear Abby: When I was born, "Aunt Sarah," a semiretired colleague of Mom's, offered to baby-sit once a week to give my mom a chance to run errands. Aunt Sarah became an adopted grandmother to my brothers and me. She would play games with us, take us to fast-food restaurants and to a playground afterward to burn off our burgers and fries. She always made sure we were well-dressed and even gave us money for college.

Aunt Sarah passed away a few months ago, but I'm fortunate to have had her in my life for 26 years. I hope "Nobody's Grandma" will take your suggestion to heart. She and her husband could have a great impact on the lives of some very lucky children. — Sarah's Granddaughter

Dear Abby: Please help me — I am in pieces. My sister is dying of cancer. She has shut me out of her life and has become very hostile toward me. This is breaking my heart, and I don't know how to deal with it. I have done nothing to offend her, and I don't understand why she is acting this way.

I understand that my sister is in pain and afraid, but I need her in my life because I love her. What can I do? — Caring Sister in North Carolina

Dear Caring Sister: I'm sorry about the sad prognosis your sister received. Many years ago, a doctor named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five distinct emotional stages that a dying person may go through after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. They are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

However, people do not necessarily pass through all of these stages. Sometimes they get "stuck" — and it appears your sister hasn't made it past the second stage. Spiritual and/or psychological counseling might help her. But if she's unwilling to accept it, all you can do is let her know how much you love her, need her and will always miss her.

P.S. A grief support group might be very helpful for you, so check with the American Cancer Society. It can be reached by calling 800-227-2345 or visiting

Confidential to My Muslim Readers: Ramadan is beginning — may your fast be an easy one!

Dear Abby: Is it rude or inconsiderate for a person to knit, crochet or piece a quilt while attending a meeting or other gathering? — Curious in the Sunbelt

Dear Curious: Although I may get some argument about this, I do think it's rude. When someone is attending a meeting or a social gathering, it is considered good manners to give the speaker or other attendees your full attention. And while I expect to hear from readers who say they can "multitask," to do so sends the wrong message.

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. © Universal Press Syndicate