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by Abigail Van Buren

Letters From Old Flame Give Woman Glow of Confidence

DEAR ABBY: I seldom miss your column in our local newspaper. Our family often discusses and learns from the letters you publish. You have helped us many times, as you have so many of your readers.

It was only after the death of my granddaughter that I saw the letter you printed from the 25-year-old woman thanking you for saving her life by printing the warning signs of an abusive partner. After seeing your column and recognizing that her boyfriend fit every warning you mentioned, she left him and started a new life.

How I wish our beautiful 19-year-old granddaughter had seen that list. She had been living with a young man for four months. Although her family didn't approve of him and had tried to dissuade her from living with him, they made an effort to accept him and welcome him into the family so they wouldn't lose their daughter.

After a particularly nasty quarrel, my granddaughter separated from the young man and returned to her family. A week after she left him, he brutally murdered her. Although she had been close to her parents (and all the family), she had never once confided to anyone the abusive relationship she was in. Her parents are devastated. Their lives have changed forever.

Our family would like to be able to help other young women in these circumstances, but we don't know how to get started, Abby. Do you have any suggestions? And would you please print the warning signs of an abuser again? -- TOO LATE IN TEXAS

DEAR TOO LATE: Please accept my deepest sympathy on the tragic loss of your granddaughter. I'm sure there are many ways in which you could help other young women in abusive relationships. The most obvious would be to explore what help is available to battered and homeless women in your city and find out what their immediate needs are -- shelter, clothing, funds to tide them over. You might also consider contacting victims' rights groups.

For anyone who might have missed it, I will publish the warning signs of an abusive partner tomorrow. Space limitations prevent me from doing it today.