Dear Abby: My 18-year-old sister, "Cheryl," left home abruptly a week ago. She suddenly stopped taking all her medications, shut off her cell phone and left town with her underage boyfriend. She is a delightful person who also happens to be diabetic, asthmatic and bipolar. Mom received one phone call (from a land line) mentioning that she "might" be heading toward the East Coast.
I consider my sister dangerous to herself and others because she has a history of reckless violence when she's off her meds. My question is, how can you find someone who doesn't want to be found when they NEED to be found?
— Heartbroken Sister in Indiana
Dear Sister: If you think YOU are worried, what about the parents of the underage boy? Your next step should be to contact them and also your mother, so that all of you can notify the police and report them missing. And when you do, be sure to inform them that your sister has several conditions that require medications, that she's off all of them and could be a danger to herself and the young man. Then cross your fingers.
Dear Abby: I have recently met a woman I really connect with, but I have a problem with settling down. I have always had difficulty restricting myself to one person when I'm seriously dating. I want to change so my lifestyle won't come back and bite me in the butt — but I'm not sure what to do.
What I'm asking is, what do you suggest for someone like me to get comfortable with the idea of settling down so that I won't be destined for failure?
— Unsure in Richmond, Va.
Dear Unsure: Slow down. You may have been dating the wrong women. When two people are truly compatible, there is less temptation to look for other company. Take things slowly and get to know the lady you're currently dating. If she qualifies in all the areas you think are important and you still find yourself looking around for something in addition, then you may have a problem and should talk to a therapist because no one woman can ever completely satisfy a man who craves variety.
Dear Abby: My father, who is in bad health, recently announced that he would like to be cremated and buried at the foot of my mother's grave. My birth mother died 28 years ago when I was 2, after they had been married only three years.
Dad married my stepmother when I was 8. I feel he should be buried with the wife he's been with for 22 years. She is the one who has seen him through the worst times in his life, his heart attack and stroke. My stepmother seems to have no negative feelings about it.
Am I wrong for thinking that a husband and wife should lie side-by-side when their time comes — with a single headstone with their names and dates of birth/death/marriage? Or is there some tradition I don't know about that he should be buried with his first wife?
— Enquiring in Clarkston, Wash.
Dear Enquiring: Your stepmother is realistic and unsentimental. She knows your father was married before, and they may have discussed this between the two of them. Perhaps she feels that because your father prefers to be interred with your mother, that's where he belongs. Your stepmother had him during the most important years — while he was living and breathing. And who knows? She may marry again, so think positively.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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