DEAR ABBY: My fiancee has a death wish. She recently lost her youngest child to suicide. She’s in a lot of pain and rarely has a good day. She suffers from PTSD and relives the scene daily in her mind.
She’s a hard worker, so that helps to keep her mind off things. She lives in an empty house with nothing there but farm animals, which she says do help to make her happy.
Abby, I’m worried because she does things that put her in danger, like staying at her son’s grave alone at night for hours. She told me recently she’s planning to go out of state to visit her other son and then spend six days by herself camping and hiking. She also goes jogging alone late at night and leaves her doors unlocked.
It seems she just doesn’t care about what may happen. She says don’t worry, but I’m terrified that one day something will happen. She’s not someone who would put up a fight.
We’re recently engaged and I care deeply about her and her safety, but I’m helpless to say anything because she just gets mad. I don’t know what to do. Can you maybe help me? – Very Concerned Fiance in Florida
DEAR FIANCE: Your fiancee is in the throes of grief. If she is the person who discovered her son’s body, she may be numb with shock and not thinking clearly.
It is not unusual for people who have lost a loved one – particularly a child – to wonder if life is still worth living and to engage either consciously or subconsciously in risk-taking behavior. A licensed psychotherapist or a suicide support group could help her to recognize what she’s doing and to get through this. Seeing others who have experienced what she has and who are further along in the grieving process would be helpful.
If she’s resistant to the idea, offer to go with her. The American Federation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) can help you find resources in your state.
DEAR ABBY: The husbands of both my two daughters asked for my blessing prior to asking my girls to marry them. I felt what they did was respectful and it was very much appreciated. My wife felt the same way when I relayed the good news to her.
I believe this courtesy replaced what in the “olden days” was a request for permission from the father rather than a blessing and, in my opinion, is more appropriate. If I am correct in my assumption that “permission” has evolved to “blessing,” I wonder if it would have been more appropriate for them to have asked my wife and me together for our blessing. Your thoughts? – Proud Papa
DEAR PROUD PAPA: Men asked permission of fathers to marry their daughters in “olden days” because the daughters were considered property. They could not marry without their father’s consent. Thankfully, those customs are long gone – in western society, at least. Please stop second-guessing your sons-in-law, who both seem like gems to me. Many couples today forgo the courtesy altogether.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.