My grandfather lied to my family — I feel icky about it

DEAR ABBY: I need a second opinion. My grandfather sold me an old farm that had been in the family for 200 years. Last week he showed me a wooded area behind the barn with a human skull. He told me that when his father died more than 50 years ago, he was curious about how long it would take a body to decompose, so he left his body in the woods to track its progress. He has 50 years of photos and notes. He told the rest of the family that his great-grandfather had been cremated and apparently no one asked him about the ashes.

At this point, all that remains is the skull. I checked with a lawyer, who told me that in my state no laws were broken. That said, I don’t want my great-grandfather’s skull lying in the woods behind my barn! My husband says I should bury it quietly, burn the photos and notes and forget about it. This just doesn’t seem right to me.

I feel like I’m helping my grandfather get away with something and it’s “disgusting.” Should I tell the rest of the family, or continue to let them believe that my great-grandfather was cremated? I blame my grandfather for putting me in the middle of all this, and any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. — I bought more than I bargained for

DEAR NEGOTIATE: Your letter is a first. Why do I feel like your grandfather must have HATED his father for treating his remains so disrespectfully? The farm and everything that goes with it is now yours to keep or get rid of.

What you need to do is decide whether you want to donate your great-grandfather’s skull to a medical or dental school (or coven?), place it in a columbarium, or bury it on your property. As for whether to tell the rest of the family, what positive thing could be accomplished by sharing this unpleasantness with them? You are a caring person; Let your conscience be your guide.

DEAR ABBY: I am a full-bodied 25-year-old woman who lives at home. My family has three dogs. Every evening, I go to my mother and father’s room to get the youngest to hold him for a few minutes and say goodnight. The dog likes to sleep closer to the middle of the bed, so I have to bend down to reach the dog. When I bend over, my mother “looks” at me because she says my shirt is starting to reveal my body and that I should “watch out” for my father.

I wear long t-shirts, long pants, and sometimes bras when I’m at home because I’m trying to look out for my dad and younger brother. I want to be free to not feel like I have to cover up when I do something small like pick up the dog. Dad is a good man. He never disrespected me in any way as I grew into a woman, so my mother’s extra “caution” bothers me. What should I do? — I JUST WANT MY DOG

DEAR I JUST WANT: Because at 25 you still live under your mother’s roof, you must respect her wishes. Once you have your own place, you can bounce around as much as you want.

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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

New York Post

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