Seeing son’s killer go free opens old wounds for family

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My son was murdered four years ago by a supposed friend. Despite a 10-year sentence, the murderer was released from prison this month.

The perpetrator and my son had some mutual friends. When I go onto the convicted manslaughterer's Facebook page, he has many people congratulating and welcoming him home.

The murderer has not once apologized or shown remorse. He was on home incarceration for six months before he was sentenced for manslaughter, and during that time, he impregnated his girlfriend instead of thinking about the devastation he's caused my family. My son will never have a family.

Instead of announcing to his Facebook friends and family that he's on his way home and that he is home, I feel he should keep his mouth shut and live a quiet life. I cannot believe that murderers and rapists receive respect and congratulations once they reenter society. Do people not recognize the devastation that has been caused to surviving family members of the victim? Or do they no longer care until something like this affects them and their families? -- HURT AGAIN IN KENTUCKY

DEAR HURT AGAIN: Please accept my sympathy for the tragic loss of your son. Nothing can take away the pain of losing a child, let alone at the hand of another person. The family and friends of the person who killed your son appear to have lost sight of the reason for his incarceration. But viewed from another perspective, they are happy to have their loved one back with them, which is why they are posting welcome messages.

A resource that might help you is the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children Inc. You can find it by going to I hope you will give it a try. My heart goes out to you.

DEAR ABBY: Sometimes the simplest situations make me wonder the most. Recently we needed to use the local ATM. When we drove by, we could see it was being filled by an armored truck. My husband said I should get in line. I looked around and saw other people waiting in their cars, so I thought I would do the same. My husband repeated that I should get out and get in line. Faced with the choice of standing in line or being nagged by my husband, I chose the former and was the first person to form a line.

After 20 minutes standing there and reading the news on my phone, the ATM guards seemed to be finished. That's when a woman approached me and said she had been waiting longer than me, albeit in her car, and I would have to go to the end of the line. I ignored her.

Soon, a guard motioned to me that the ATM was available. As I was making my withdrawal, I could hear the woman say to the others now lined up behind her that I had jumped the line and she called me an expletive, which two others in line repeated. Was I wrong to have stood my ground, or should I have moved to the back? -- WAITING IN TEXAS

DEAR WAITING: If you were the first person to stand at the ATM while others chose to wait in the comfort of their vehicles, you owed no one an apology. The person who was out of line (literally) was the woman who called you an expletive, and you were right to ignore her.

DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife just passed away from ovarian cancer. She was only 48. She was my perfect life partner for 28 years and everything in the world to me. We shared every day together. I didn't have any hobbies or guy friends; all I ever wanted was to be with her.

I'm not asking for help with grief, as there is no getting over what happened. But I became so emotionally dependent on her that I find myself like an addict in withdrawal. Because of this, I'm afraid I will appear to be desperate if I even talk to another woman. I need someone in my life. I just don't know how to get from hollow to whole again.

Please help me figure out how to let someone know I would be a good and faithful partner without hanging a sign around my neck that says "Desperate!" -- IN NEED OF SOMEONE

DEAR IN NEED: Allow me to offer my deepest sympathy for the loss of your beloved wife, but please don't jump the gun. Before searching for another wife, it's important you figure out the boundary between where you left off and your wife began.

While the closeness you shared was a special gift, I urge you to allow yourself time to heal from this great loss. By that, I am not implying that you should go into seclusion. Quite the contrary. But instead of searching for someone to fill the hole in your life, it would be healthier to start by looking for friends. Friends are easy to talk to, and from friendships deeper relationships develop.

Explore activities that interest you, whether they be sports-related, continuing your education, the arts, volunteer work. If you get stuck, ask for a referral to a grief support group or a therapist. You will get through this, but it will take time for the ache to subside. Have faith, accept it, go slow and you won't regret it.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Jay," has a 14-year-old daughter who has been home-schooling during the quarantine, and she refuses to put pants on. When we ask her to, she gets upset. She isn't built like the average teenager. Abby, she's 5'10" and weighs 200 pounds, so it's like seeing a grown woman in her underwear.

I think it's inappropriate for a young woman her age to be unwilling to dress herself fully, and I don't like seeing her like that every time I go to their house. Jay doesn't notice. He says it doesn't bother him, and he doesn't mind when I ask her to put shorts on. I don't feel it's my place at this point to dictate what she wears, but I'm uncomfortable. I don't know if I'm crossing a line or if it's normal to feel this way. Help! -- DIDN'T THINK I WAS A PRUDE

DEAR DIDN'T: Your fiance is OK with his daughter's attire in their home. If your engagement to Jay leads to marriage, you will be living there permanently, so your opinion should be respected. Someone has to have "the talk" with your fiance's daughter about the fact she's no longer a child; she has become a young woman. The person to do that is her father. The message would be better coming from him because you're not her parent, and it may help you avoid being perceived as the "wicked stepmother-to-be."