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Tue, Dec. 10

Dear Abby | Bully in church choir prevents former member from rejoining

Dear Abby: I will soon be retiring from a lay position in my church. As a former member of the choir, I’m being urged to return to it, which appeals to me. My problem is a member who has caused trouble in the past for me with lies and criticism.

She is a very negative bully. In the past, she poisoned my ability to worship, and I want as little to do with her as possible. I’m afraid if I rejoin the choir, the situation will continue. I don’t want to upset the other choir members who are good, supportive friends, but I no longer want to have to put up with her. She’s very hard to ignore. Any suggestions? – Singing a New Tune in Canada

Dear Singing: If you haven’t already done so, discuss this with the priest/pastor of your church. Explain how the woman’s bullying and rumor spreading have affected you and ask for guidance. If she’s the one sour note in the choir, it is possible she has done the same thing to others.

Dear Abby: My son moved in with a 22-year-old woman in 2009. She gave birth to a baby boy in 2010. My son, who is older, took on the responsibility of raising the boy. In 2018, she walked out on them both and wasn’t heard from again. Through public records we found out that she had committed suicide.

My grandson is now 9. My question is, is he old enough to be told about his mother, or should my son wait until he’s older, like in his teens? I’m just wondering what’s the right thing to do. – Right Time in Florida

Dear Right Time: When your grandson asks about his mother, he should be told that she is no longer living. As he begins asking for more information, his questions should be answered in an age-appropriate way. He does not need to hear that she committed suicide until he is old enough to understand what she was suffering from and how sad you and your son are that her life ended the way it did.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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