11/11/2010DEAR ABBY: My adult son committed suicide. He was an alcoholic with many problems. Every year around the time of his death I become very depressed and emotional. Is this normal? Members of my family think I should "get over it." -- EMOTIONAL MOM IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR EMOTIONAL MOM: The members of your family are mistaken. Your feelings are perfectly normal.
The problem of suicide in America is no secret. It has been in the headlines repeatedly, and more than 30,000 people take their lives annually. Because of the shame and stigma that are unfortunately still attached to suicide, many people are left to suffer in silence.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), more than 80 percent of us will lose someone to suicide at some point during our lives. This is why the organization sponsors National Survivors of Suicide Day every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. (This year it's November 20.) It's a day when surviving parents, children, siblings, spouses and friends gather at locations from Nashville to Nepal and take comfort in being with others who know what it means to lose a loved one to suicide.
Readers, to find out more information, visit the foundation's website at www.AFSP.org. It lists many excellent resources including a book I especially like titled, "Why Suicide?" by Eric Marcus. Published by Harper One, it's compassionate, informative, heartfelt and a must-read for anyone whose life has been touched by suicide.
DEAR ABBY: I relocated to live with "Zack," my boyfriend of one year. Now that I'm here I'm afraid that I adore him more than I am adored. I'm not the clingy type, but Zack never cuddles. Sex is not discussed -- and never "my" way.
Most things are like that. He isn't abusive -- just uncompromising, lazy and selfish. To make matters worse, we share the house with a family member of his who has the same spoiled teenager attitude.
I'm the one who cooks, cleans, shovels snow, takes care of the dog and has the guts to call the landlord about issues. I have asked Zack to help and to ask for help from his relative. He excuses his relative from responsibility and will help me with that one request -- at that moment only. They have no regular chores. I experimented with the bathroom wastebasket -- it overflowed for weeks because I didn't empty it.
I am growing resentful and angry. If I say anything, Zack rolls his eyes at me like I'm an idiot and asks me how I come up with all the "stuff" I gripe about. I feel like I'm the parent of two teenagers with overdeveloped ideas of entitlement, even though we all have an equal stake in this house.
Is there a different approach I can use, or should I do what I have been considering for a while -- throw in the towel and move out? -- READY TO BAIL IN SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
DEAR READY TO BAIL: Go ahead and bail. Zack and his relative are treating you like an unpaid housemaid and no one's girlfriend. The longer you tolerate this situation, the longer it will continue. So start packing. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
DEAR VETERANS: Today is Veteran's Day and your numbers are growing. Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you -- as well as those men and women who are still on active duty -- for your service to our nation. I salute you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)