DEAR ABBY: The way my mother dresses has me so embarrassed I don’t want to be seen in public with her. Her hair looks as if she’s stuck her finger in a light socket, her clothes are three sizes too big, she wears no makeup. It looks as if she just rolled out of bed, no matter where she is going.

Mom held a dinner party for my birthday, and even my boyfriend did a double take when he walked in and saw her wearing a giant T-shirt that came to her mid-thigh. Abby, she wasn’t even wearing a bra! When I mentioned it to her the next day, she just laughed it off.

I take pride in my appearance. I realize that not everyone is as concerned as I am about their appearance. But shouldn’t she respect others enough to at least look decent? Am I being conceited, or should she be given a makeover? – MORTIFIED IN EUGENE

Has your mother always been unkempt and careless about her appearance, or is this something new? If it’s something new, then she does not need a makeover; she needs a checkup from her doctor. If she has always presented herself this way, then I doubt she is open to change. Makeovers can work wonders, but they are successful only if the person is willing to admit that one is needed.

DEAR ABBY: My grandmother died while I was out of the country on a two-week vacation. My dad left when I was in second grade, and she raised me along with my mother. We were very close. I always took care of her and made time to spend with her.

Although she had been in poor health for two years, Grandma was not in critical condition when I left. She passed away three days before I was to return, and my family held her funeral the day before I arrived.

I had expressed my wishes that they wait if at all possible. They did not, and I feel betrayed. We have always been close, and now I am so hurt and angry that I don’t even want to see them. Can you offer any advice? – CRUSHED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Please accept my sympathy for your loss. It is regrettable that the funeral could not be postponed, but there may have been extenuating circumstances.

Your feelings of anger are a part of your grieving process, and it is important that you work them through. It would be helpful for you to discuss this with your clergyperson so he or she can guide you to a grief support group. Please don’t wait. The sooner you resolve this, the better it will be for you and your family, who I am sure are also grieving.

DEAR ABBY: When dining out and someone asks for the salt (or any other item at the table) should you (a) use it first and then pass it, or (b) pass it first and then ask for it back? – BETH IN WOODSTOCK, ILL.

When someone asks you to pass the salt, you should hand both the salt and pepper shakers at the same time, without helping yourself first. The same goes for any other item.

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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