DEAR ABBY: Ten years ago this month, a drunk driver killed my girlfriend. She was only 29. I still miss her and think about her every day. I think about all the things that intoxicated driver could have done to avoid the tragedy of that night – things such as calling a cab, letting someone else drive home, or giving the car keys to a designated driver.

However, I cannot admonish the driver or ask why these precautions were not taken; I do not have that luxury. You see, Abby, the driver was my GIRLFRIEND.

She got into her car that night without thinking it would be the last ride of her life. She got behind the wheel without considering all those who loved her and would miss her smile, her voice, her presence. She did it without thinking of her two little boys who would have to grow up without a mommy.

I know it’s a cliche, but if this letter makes just one person out there stop and think before getting behind the wheel while impaired, my girlfriend’s death may not have been in vain. — KURT E. WERTHEIM, SAN ANTONIO

It is clear that you are still in mourning. Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Your letter points up one sobering fact: The person most at risk is the one who can’t think clearly and believes “it can’t happen to me.”

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating “Collin” for nine months. I fell for him hard and fast. My problem is I recently met his former girlfriend, “Patty.” She has a 10-month-old son. Abby, I’ve done the math. I suspect Collin is the father. He told me he broke up with Patty 10 months before we met. I asked Collin if he is the baby’s father, and he said he “didn’t think so,” because Patty never mentioned it to him.

I don’t think Collin really wants to know – but I do! This is driving me crazy. Should I ask Patty if Collin is the father of her child? Help! — SUSPICIOUS HEART IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

By all means ask Patty who the father is. It’s a fair question, and one that could affect your future with Collin romantically and financially. If he is the daddy, he may be required by law to support the child at least until he is 18. And if he’s not the father, it will put your mind at ease.

DEAR ABBY: We recently hosted a bat mitzvah for our daughter and invited two families (parents along with their children). In both cases, the parents attended but the children did not.

A few months later, these two families hosted similar parties for their own children. In each case, my husband and I were invited but our children were not. I thought if we invited their children, they should invite ours. Is this considered proper etiquette? — PUZZLED ALONG THE HUDSON RIVER

Not that I know of. A bar mitzvah and a bat mitzvah are important rites of passage in a young Jewish person’s life, and when I was growing up it was a celebration in which contemporaries were always included – particularly if the children were in the same age bracket. I, too, am puzzled that parents would attend or be expected to attend without their children. (The exception to this would be if the children were toddlers who might be disruptive.)

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.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby — Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.

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