DEAR ABBY: My brother and I are one year apart and grew up practically as twins. We buried our mother and bought some land together. Then, in our late 20s, my brother met and married a woman. We still lived together, only with hostility and distance.

Five years have gone by, and we now live apart. However, the feelings of hurt still remain – and in fact have intensified. Recently I wrote a letter to him expressing my anger about the past, and he cut me off permanently.

We both understand that we needed to separate and how unfortunate it was that it happened with a lot of anger and resentment. However, I am being married this summer and am unable to decide if I should invite him to the wedding. On the one hand, I don’t want to create another wound, but on the other, it feels as if we have finally broken free, and it is time to move on and respect his wish to be rid of me.

I am actually relieved that the end has finally come. The truth is, I’m not even sure if I want him there. But the rest of our family probably will. What do you think? – GERALD IN SAN FRANCISCO

A wedding is the joining together of a couple who hope to spend the rest of their lives committed to each other. It is NOT a time for feuding brothers to attempt a reconciliation, which could be distracting for all concerned. If you plan to patch things up with your sibling, do it before the wedding or don’t invite him.

DEAR ABBY: Is it appropriate for a couple living together – “Carrie” is a widow and “Jake” is divorced – to wear wedding bands on the ring fingers of their left hands? They say they are “married in their hearts” and cannot marry legally for financial reasons.

My husband and I feel that the wearing of wedding bands without following the rules of marriage (i.e., a ceremony conducted by a person licensed to marry and the receiving of a legal document) diminishes the sanctity and authenticity of our own wedding bands and those of all others who are legally married. – JEAN IN LOS GATOS, CALIF.

Couples who find themselves in the situation of the couple you have described sometimes discuss it with their clergyperson and exchange vows so they can be “married in the eyes of God.” Because Carrie and Jake’s marital situation bothers you so much, why don’t you mention this to them?

After that, however, I would urge you to devote your attention to your own marriage, because how others choose to conduct their lives is no reflection on the sanctity and authenticity of your wedding bands – and frankly, it’s none of your business.

DEAR ABBY: My precious daddy died of cancer seven years ago. My problem is, Mother has never laid him to rest. She keeps his ashes in her dirty garage. She says it’s because he wanted all three of us children to be together when his ashes were scattered – but my brother lives 1,000 miles away and hasn’t been able to get back home.

I have tried talking to Mom, reasoning with her, even suggesting she drive off one day and do it by herself if it would make her feel better. Still nothing! Isn’t this disrespectful? Dad deserves better, but she refuses to let him go. – STYMIED IN SACRAMENTO

DEAR STYMIED: Your mother’s inability to let go of your father’s ashes is not as unusual as you think. Consider this: Your father is in heaven. The ashes in the garage are but the remains of his discarded earthly shell. If enough time elapses, you can scatter your parents’ ashes together.

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.