DEAR ABBY: I live and work in the Maryland area where a majority of the sniper shootings took place. I want the world -- and the murderers -- to know that in the terrible days of fear and uncertainty before the arrests, the people of this area came closer together than I ever thought possible. Law enforcement worked countless hours overtime. Adults used their own bodies to shield children going into schools in the morning and out at the end of the day.
On the morning of the last shooting, I had to take my car to the garage. I was not prepared to leave it overnight and had not arranged for transportation home. No one I called for a ride was home. I was amazed when a total stranger offered to give me a lift. As we drove, we talked. We had a lot in common, including feelings of despair at the senseless loss of life and pain that had been forced on all of us during the shooting spree.
Abby, I offer this example of kindness to the families and friends of each victim, along with this message: The evil of two brought out the kindness and compassion of thousands. Our pain doesn't compare to yours, who tragically lost your loved ones, but please know you are in our hearts and prayers. -- KAREN GILLETTE, HYATTSVILLE, MD.
DEAR KAREN: That's very well said. No one in any part of the country could watch the news without feeling empathy for the families of the victims and the fear experienced by those living in the areas that were affected.
DEAR ABBY: I was married last June. My husband and I are both 34. Last weekend, he got together with his buddies, went out drinking, and brought home two condoms he hid in his sock drawer. I found them yesterday. We do not use this method of contraception, and I went through the roof.
He swears he hasn't slept with anyone and does not intend to. He says his friends had them and he simply took a couple, not really thinking it was a big deal.
I feel that it IS a big deal. He must be contemplating something if he bothered to keep them. I feel that I made a huge mistake trusting him enough to marry him. He says he is sorry and didn't mean to hurt me. What should I do? -- HURT AND ANGRY IN BOSTON
DEAR HURT AND ANGRY: If your husband hadn't thought it was any big deal, he wouldn't have hidden the condoms. What happened may have been innocent, but you're entitled to know exactly what was going on in reality and in your husband's head. Some sessions with a counselor may be able to help you two communicate with each other in a nonjudgmental environment. The sooner, the better.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 19 years. Our relationship has been going downhill for some time. We've been to three marriage counselors, but no one seems to be able to help. We have two wonderful sons, 9 and 5.
I am very unhappy with my marriage and want a divorce, but our elder son, "Jacob," was diagnosed with leukemia last summer. The guilt I feel because of my ill child is overwhelming. I love him more than life itself.
Jacob's cancer is being treated successfully and the outlook is good, but I fear the effect that a divorce would have on him and our younger son. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -- SAD DAD IN INDIANA
DEAR SAD DAD: Get a referral from the medical center where your child is being treated and make an appointment with a child psychologist to find out how a separation at this time would affect your son in his recovery. After that, you'll know what to do, and when to do it.
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