DEAR ABBY: My life has been turned upside down over the last year. My husband, "Grant," the stepfather of my children, committed suicide in May of 2005. It was awful, but his parents have made it much worse for my children and me. They blame me for his death.
His mother actually told me it was my fault because Grant and I argued the morning of his death. They have treated me horribly even though I tried to reach out to them and be fair with all his belongings. I haven't spoken to either one of them in months, but it breaks my heart that they feel I am to blame.
Should I contact Grant's parents and let them know how bad they have hurt me, or should I just let it go and try to heal on my own? It would be nice to be able to talk to them about him, and for my daughters, who loved him and called him Dad, to be able to talk to his parents about him. We miss him terribly and miss Nana and Papa, too. -- GRIEVING IN CHATSWORTH, GA.
DEAR GRIEVING: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. However, unless you are prepared for yet another round of blame and rejection, I don't think it would be productive to contact your former in-laws again. Nana and Papa owe you an apology, but don't hold your breath expecting one if they haven't talked to you for more than a year.
Your husband's mother struck out at you out of ignorance and anger. Mentally healthy people do not kill themselves because they had a quarrel with their spouse that morning. Obviously, more was going on with your husband than that, and probably had been for some time.
You will find the comfort you need by joining a grief support group such as the American Association of Suicidology, which provides referrals to local self-help groups for survivors of suicide. Check out the Web site at www.suicidology.org.
DEAR ABBY: Mother is 74. She recently married a man who is a registered sex offender. She found out about his past on their second date, but swallowed his story about how he was innocent of his crime. She married him after only three weeks of dating and hid his past from our entire family.
My teenage daughter discovered his mug shot on the Internet and, of course, all hell has broken loose as a result. Our family is torn apart. We (my brother, sister-in-law, grown children, nieces) had told my mother we didn't want him around our children, but we still wanted her in our lives. She became insulted and gave us an ultimatum -- it's a package deal with her and him, or she'd have no contact with us at all.
After three months of silence, she is now trying to contact us to tell us we have no right to judge him and she's trying on convince us to accept him as the new grandfather. We are being barraged with calls and letters from her, trying to get us to see "her" side.
Are we being too judgmental, or are we right to try to keep him away from our kids? This is her fourth marriage, her fifth serious relationship. Her second husband molested her two young granddaughters many years ago, and this new man has just been too much to bear. What should we do? -- SUSAN, SOMEWHERE IN MISSOURI
DEAR SUSAN: Stick to your guns. Your mother appears to be "snake bit" when it comes to selecting mates. Although you may love and miss your mother, your first duty as parents must be to protect your minor children.
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