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Be there for your daughter

Dear Abby: My two children were in a terrible car accident and were both airlifted to a children's hospital. My son was released two weeks later, but my daughter is still there, suffering from traumatic brain injury.

Abby, I was driving the car. Why can't my daughter have the life I took away from her? Why is she being punished and not me?

-- Anguished Mother

Dear Anguished: You're asking a question that philosophers have pondered for centuries -- why bad things happen to good people. In many cases the answer is simply "fate."

While you feel your daughter is being punished instead of you, I say the guilt you're carrying IS punishment and it is not healthy for you or your child. Please don't waste time flogging yourself, because your daughter needs you. Counseling may help you to come to terms with what happened. I hope you'll consider it, as you will need every ounce of strength you can muster to help her in the months ahead.


Try to compromise

Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I are in a serious relationship. Not long ago we got on the topic of marriage and what we are looking for. He comes from a religious family and I do not. His mother says if we don't get married in a church with a religious ceremony, she won't consider me her daughter-in-law and we won't be a married couple.

I want a civil ceremony, something outside and casual. Thankfully, my boyfriend agrees with me. We're just not sure how to deal with his mom and her point of view. What should we do?

-- Looking to the Future in New York

Dear Looking to the Future: What you should do depends upon to what degree you want to placate his mother. Having the casual ceremony you want in the setting of your choosing, and afterward having your union blessed in a clergyperson's study, might be a workable compromise.