Dear Abby: My fiancee has a death wish. She recently lost her youngest child to suicide. She’s in a lot of pain and rarely has a good day. She suffers from PTSD and relives the scene daily in her mind.
She’s a hard worker, so that helps to keep her mind off things. She lives in an empty house with nothing there but farm animals, which she says do help to make her happy.
Abby, I’m worried because she does things that put her in danger, like staying at her son’s grave alone at night for hours. She told me recently she’s planning to go out of state to visit her other son and then spend six days by herself camping and hiking. She also goes jogging alone late at night and leaves her doors unlocked.
It seems she just doesn’t care about what may happen. She says don’t worry, but I’m terrified that one day something will happen. She’s not someone who would put up a fight.
We’re recently engaged and I care deeply about her and her safety, but I’m helpless to say anything because she just gets mad. I don’t know what to do. Can you maybe help me? – Very Concerned Fiance in Florida
Dear Fiance: Your fiancee is in the throes of grief. If she is the person who discovered her son’s body, she may be numb with shock and not thinking clearly.
It is not unusual for people who have lost a loved one – particularly a child – to wonder if life is still worth living and to engage either consciously or subconsciously in risk-taking behavior.
A licensed psychotherapist or a suicide support group could help her to recognize what she’s doing and to get through this. Seeing others who have experienced what she has and who are further along in the grieving process would be helpful.
If she’s resistant to the idea, offer to go with her. The American Federation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) can help you find resources in your state.
Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.