DEAR ABBY: Last year, on April 30, my 16-year-old son was hit by a car and killed. He was walking with friends in the rain on a dark road at night. The driver of the car says he never saw my son, although he was wearing a dark sweatshirt with white designs on it, black pants and a white hat. I will never know exactly what was going on in my son’s head, walking in the rain at night. And I will have to live with the pain of losing him for the rest of my life.

I would like to urge other parents out there that whenever your sons or daughters leave the house – no matter what time of day or night it is – make sure they have some sort of bright clothing on or with them. You never know when they might be walking in the dark.

Also, no matter what is going on in your life, or theirs, please make sure that you always tell them you love them. Because in just a snap of a finger, your child could be gone. – SAD IN CLINTON, MASS.

DEAR SAD: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your son. Your message is worth repeating, and it applies to adults as well as young people. Pedestrians as well as bicycle riders should make absolutely certain they can be seen by drivers by wearing reflective clothing at night. No one wants to think of him- or herself as a statistic, but accidents can and do happen to anyone. An ounce of prevention …

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a serious relationship for 13 months. The woman I am with has a daughter who is 15 months old. I am the only father figure that has ever been in her life. Her biological father, “Ethan,” saw her only twice. I have been supporting my lady and her child for a while.

Last January, Ethan died, and my lady took it hard. Last Saturday, she got his name tattooed on her back without consulting me. She didn’t tell me until after it was done, and it upset me. We are supposed to be married soon.

Every time we make love, that tattoo reminds me of Ethan. I feel she should have asked me what I thought about the idea first. She expects me to consult her about things that I do before I do them. Am I wrong for expecting the same respect from her as I give her? Should I tell her how I feel, or should I avoid having a confrontation with her and try to forget about it? – ANGRY AND CONFUSED IN PHOENIX

DEAR ANGRY: Your feelings are valid. You were not consulted because your lady friend already knew what your feelings would be. Avoiding a discussion (notice I did not say “confrontation”) with her about this is not the way to go. This matter needs to be talked about to your satisfaction, and if the tattoo dampens your ardor, it should be removed before the wedding.

DEAR ABBY: Last month, my sister, “Diane,” was going on a trip to Europe. At the last moment, she asked me if she could take my digital camera with her. I told her no, I needed the camera for my work and didn’t want to take a chance on her losing it. The camera was a Christmas gift, and I have had it only a few months.

When Diane returned from her trip, she decided not to talk to me. It has been more than two weeks now. I told her she should talk, but she doesn’t want to. What can I do? – DANIELLE IN PASSAIC, N.J.

DEAR DANIELLE: Enjoy the silence while you can. Once she starts talking again, you’ll never hear the end of it.

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.

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