DEAR ABBY: For the past 2 1/2 years, my deceased father's friend and accountant has been working on winding up his estate. The bulk of the estate has been disbursed, and it should be clearing sometime soon.
He has refused to take any compensation from the estate for executor's fees. I have told him by email and in person that Dad would want him to be paid for his work, but he refuses to take any payment and insists he wants this to be the last thing he does for my father.
I feel a thank-you gift would be appropriate, but I'm stumped about what to get him. Although I saw him and his family several times in my childhood, I haven't seen him in decades, so I have no idea what hobbies or restaurants he enjoys. I'm guessing his age to be in his late 80s to early 90s, and his wife is still alive. I'm pretty sure people in that age group don't need any more "stuff" for their house, and I know they're financially comfortable.
I have thought about flowers or a gift basket, but the small amount they cost would pale against what he would have been entitled to had he taken his executor's fee. Do you have any suggestions on how I can express my thanks for everything he's done? — THANK YOU, IN CANADA
DEAR THANK YOU: Because he is refusing monetary compensation, I suggest you write him a letter. In it, express how much you appreciate the hard work he has done and the kindness he has shown to your family. Tell him you know what a good friend he was to your father and how much your dad trusted and respected him. Then say thank you, and if he and his wife live close enough, offer to take them to dinner and thank him again in person.
DEAR ABBY: I had a miscarriage two years ago. My ex wasn't emotionally supportive during our grieving process (I understand everyone deals with loss differently). However, suffice it to say, our journeys no longer aligned.
I started dating again a few months ago and now realize I have built up an emotional wall. Also, I'm never sure when — or if — I should bring up my miscarriage. I'm 28 and have a master's degree, and I would like to try again with the right man, the right way (after marriage). How do I start? — DO-OVER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR DO-OVER: I presume, having lost a baby you wanted and having to face the reality that your ex wasn't the supportive person you thought he was, that you are having trust issues. The time to resolve them is before you start looking for another life partner. Some sessions with a psychologist would help.
Once you feel it's safe to open your heart to someone again, wait until you know where the relationship is going before discussing this chapter of your life. The right man will understand, love you and give you the emotional support you need.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.