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Mausoleum site already occupied

Dear Abby: My 87-year-old mother recently discovered that the mausoleum site she had reserved for herself next to my father's grave -- and paid for when he died -- was occupied by my uncle's ashes and headstone. Mom had moved away 20 years ago and had not visited the cemetery in all that time.

My cousin's explanation, when confronted by my tearful mom, was that it was a "temporary solution" as the mausoleum was full at the time of my uncle's death. They were planning to move him. Apparently, it has taken 14 years for them to get around to it.

Mom had to send a notarized letter to the cemetery asking that my uncle's remains be removed. My cousins, who are wealthy and successful people, saved $800 by using my mother's prepaid site. Should Mom charge them rent?

-- Bewildered in California

Dear Bewildered: I don't think your mother should ask your cousins for "rent," but I do think she should contact the owners of the cemetery and ask what they plan to do to compensate her for her distress. Frankly, I don't understand how they could have allowed your uncle's ashes to be placed in her reserved site. The ball will then be in their court -- and if they are ethical and responsible, they may offer free opening and closing costs at the time of her death.


Look for the lights

Dear Abby: It's almost Halloween and parents need to teach their children that if a house does not have its porch light on, it means the resident will not be handing out candy or other treats.

There are many reasons people don't participate. These homes should not be targeted with "tricks" or vandalism. Simply skip the house with the lights off and move on to the next one that has its lights on.

-- Lights On in California

Dear Lights On: Your letter is a timely one, and I'm glad you brought the subject up because what you have written is correct. Some people do not participate in Halloween for religious and other reasons, and their beliefs should be respected.

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