DEAR ABBY: I was widowed last spring, and I’m still not over the shock of what happened at my late husband “Jason’s” visitation at the funeral home.

I was his second wife. Imagine my devastation when my darling husband of less than three years died only 90 days after being diagnosed with cancer. Jason had been separated and divorced from his first wife, “Carole,” for many years before we were married, and had two adult children from that marriage.

On the morning of Jason’s visitation, I went to the funeral home and made sure the casket spray, guestbook and a few family photos of all of us were arranged before going home to shower and change.

When I returned to the funeral home, I was confronted by Carole, who was greeting the visitors as if she were the widow – wearing red cowboy boots, no less. If that weren’t enough, she had put up a display with photos of herself and Jason, storyboards, etc. and was acting as if they had never divorced. I was mortified by her behavior, but did not want to cause a scene in that setting.

Finally, after four hours, the funeral director and a friend escorted Carole outside and told her it was time for the wife to be alone with the body. Was it the funeral director’s responsibility to take care of this, or should Jason’s children have corrected their mother’s behavior?

The right person finally took action. It was up to the funeral director to see to it that the visitation was carried out to your satisfaction. And, embarrassed and grieving as you were, you should have approached the funeral director and asked that the former wife’s performance be “canceled” as soon as it began.

DEAR ABBY: My husband has always been a little bit controlling, but he has never mentally or physically abused me before. We have a relationship that works for us.

I was raised in the South to believe that the woman stays home and cooks and cleans. I enjoy being his “li’l woman.” I am pregnant with our second child.

The problem is, my husband is starting to drink more and more. When he drinks, he becomes angry. The other night while he was drinking, he hit me for the first time. He apologized the next day, but I am now scared of what he might do the next time he drinks. I have suggested counseling. He says he will think about it. – WORRIED IN ROCHESTER, MINN.

Your husband’s drinking has reached the point where it’s time the both of you admitted he has a serious problem. For a man to hit a woman is a disgusting sign of weakness; for a husband to hit his pregnant wife is beyond the pale. If you do not draw the line now, your husband could seriously injure you and/or the baby when (not “if”) he does it again.

Tell him that the first time he hit you was also the last, and if the marriage is to continue, he must get help for his drinking immediately – not just “think about it.” And while you’re at it, inform him that the next time he raises a hand to you, you will call the police and have him thrown in jail. If you fail to act now, this is only the beginning of your problems.

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.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.