Dear Abby: My mom is using my daughter’s death for social media clout

DEAR ABBY: My daughter passed away nine years ago. She was almost 13. My mother never bothered to have a relationship with her when she was alive. But now, on every birthday and anniversary of her passing, Mom posts on Facebook how much she misses her and how “close” they were. Her friends all send messages of love addressed to Mom, with no mention of my husband and me. It hurts and upsets us, but I don’t know how — or if — I should talk with her about it. Any words of advice? — GRIEVING MOM IN CALIFORNIA 

DEAR GRIEVING MOM: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your daughter. It is possible now that she is gone, your mother realizes how many opportunities she missed to have a close relationship with her grandchild, and she posts those messages out of guilt. She may also do it for attention, which is sad. You can’t stop her from posting what she wants on her page, but you can spare yourself the upset you experience when you see it if you stay away from Facebook on these occasions.

DEAR ABBY: I am a closeted lesbian in my teens and really scared about coming out. I recently moved to an area of the country that is full of racists, sexists and homophobes. Most of my friends are really religious. One of them has said bad things about gay people and what she would like to do to them. I’m scared to come out to them. 

I have only come out to a few people, but I know my family will accept me no matter what. I would really like to feel comfortable around my friends as my true self, but I’m not sure how I can do that. — YEARNING TO BE ME IN THE SOUTH

DEAR YEARNING: Because you are sure your parents will be supportive and accepting, come out to them. However, unless you consider coming out in your community to be safe, you shouldn’t do it. You can find friends on the internet. Social media can provide friendships until you are old enough to leave the area you now live in. This is what many young LGBTQ people do. You have a wonderful life ahead of you, and you should come out when you feel the time is right.

DEAR ABBY: How does one handle visiting a patient who is in the hospital for tests or a procedure when they have an attention-seeking person sitting with them the entire time? The patient is up for visitors and able to communicate, but this extra person — who is not who you have gone to see — monopolizes the entire visit. I offered to give the person a break so I could actually visit the patient, but the hint was ignored. Any suggestions? — DREADING VISITATION IN OHIO

DEAR DREADING: I do have one. Before you visit, call the patient and ask if a visit is welcome and if there is a time when you can be alone. If the answer is no, wait until the patient is out of the hospital to have that visit. Between you and me, when someone is in the hospital, that person should rest rather than “entertain” anyone, with the exception of closest family members.

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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.