Man who threatened suicide demands his guns be returned

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been friends with another couple for more than 50 years. The four of us have shared lots of good times together.

After recent open heart surgery, the husband became very depressed and talked to his wife about "ending it all." She asked me to take the few handguns (all legal) they had in their home to be safe. I didn't feel I could say no. I'm not interested in guns, but it seemed a simple request. So she "snuck" them out to me during our last visit.

When the husband discovered what his wife had done, she told him about my role in it. He now demands I return his guns and says he no longer wants anything to do with me. His wife wants me to hold onto them for now.

What should I do? -- TORN OVER THIS

DEAR TORN: From what I have been told, depression after heart surgery is not unusual. Hang onto the guns and urge the wife to report her husband's threat to harm himself to his doctors and let them guide her. She should also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 800-273-8255. Someone who has talked about suicide should not have easy access to the means to do it.

DEAR ABBY: Since this coronavirus pandemic started, I have seen lots of articles stressing the importance of staying connected to elderly family members, friends and those living alone. My husband and I have each other, so we are sheltering in place. Although we have eight grandkids who all live within 50 miles, we haven't heard a word from any of them, whether via phone, email or text, all of which we do. How bad is that? -- DISCONNECTED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DISCONNECTED: If you have reached out to your grandchildren and been ignored, shame on them. If you haven't, it's time you did. Sometimes young people become so engrossed in their daily lives they forget about anything else. But that's what parents are for, to "remind" them that reaching out to someone who needs a kind word (or an errand run during a pandemic) can be rewarding not only for the receiver but also for the giver. Parents should remind them to take five minutes occasionally to text Grandma.

DEAR ABBY: I started and completed a college fund for my two daughters. Only one of them used it. The other joined the military and used the GI Bill for college instead of the money from the college fund ($10,000). Am I obligated to give her that money? I did pull it out of the fund and have it in a certificate. I figure when she buys a house, I'll give it to her then. -- WONDERING IN FLORIDA

DEAR WONDERING: Check with the bank to make sure there won't be a problem if the college fund money isn't used for your daughter's education. If you can apply it elsewhere in a way that will benefit her -- and part of a down payment on a house would definitely qualify -- I think it would be wonderful. But check first.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were married 30 years when we ran into an old girlfriend (and ex-fiancee) of mine at a function. I spent a good part of the evening dancing with her and ignoring my wife. My wife says I was "indecent" with the girlfriend, and it hurt her badly.

It was 20 years ago, but my wife lets me hear about it every day. I can't take it any longer. She refuses to get help or forgive me. Our marriage has gone downhill ever since. What do you recommend I do to make it up to her? I've tried a few things, to no avail. -- PAST ISN'T IN THE PAST

DEAR PAST: Your performance at that function must have been deeply humiliating to your wife. Was your regrettable behavior with your ex-fiancee a one-time thing or has it happened since?

You stated this happened 20 years ago and you have attempted to make amends to no avail. Unless there's more to this story than you have written, it appears your wife enjoys carrying a grudge and punishing you -- which is, in my opinion, worse than what you did.

Please quit allowing her to continue to punish you. Get counseling if you need to, and offer her the option of counseling again. Understand that if she refuses, you have important decisions to make about your future. Discuss with your therapist what emotionally healthy options there may be for you, but don't continue to settle for the status quo.

DEAR ABBY: My husband's mother passed away recently after a long illness. She lived in another state. He couldn't be there while she was sick or when she died because he was also ill. He carries a lot of guilt about it.

I saw a cellphone message from her before she died, saying she was dying and asking him to come help her. I deleted it because hearing it would have put added stress on him and made him sicker. Now I feel guilty. Should I keep quiet or confess? He still is not well. -- GUILTY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

DEAR GUILTY: You made a rational choice for a solid reason when you decided to delete the message instead of sharing it with your husband. If you feel you must "confess," disclose it to your spiritual adviser or someone you can trust who is closer to you than I am. Personally, considering the state of your husband's health, I think the choice you made was the correct one.

DEAR ABBY: I've been dating my widower boyfriend for four years, and for my birthday this year he gave me an inexpensive tea kettle. (I don't drink tea.) I had been hinting that I would love a piece of fine jewelry because I have never received anything like that from him. Should I say something? A pretty necklace or a bottle of my favorite cologne are things I would have preferred -- something thoughtful and meaningful. I feel sad and unappreciated. -- ANONYMOUS IN MICHIGAN

DEAR ANONYMOUS: You appear to be involved with someone who has little imagination or is frugal to a fault. Tell your widower boyfriend (of four years) how you felt about receiving a kettle for your birthday, because you hoped for something that showed he had given more thought to what you might prefer. Then, instead of hinting, educate him about the items on your wish list when your next birthday rolls around.