Dear Abby

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - COMICS, ETC. -

Dear Abby: Ten years ago, I had an af­fair with a mar­ried man that re­sulted in a preg­nancy and then a mis­car­riage. I was also mar­ried at the time. Pathol­ogy test­ing re­vealed that the child had a rare ge­netic disor­der in­her­ited on the pa­ter­nal side. My hus­band’s ge­netic test in­di­cated that he was not a car­rier. The rev­e­la­tion led to my ad­mis­sion of the af­fair and our di­vorce.

I didn’t tell the other man. His wife was un­able to have chil­dren, so I didn’t think it would im­pact him.

I re­cently found out he is di­vorced and re­mar­ried to a younger woman. I have no idea whether they plan to have chil­dren, but I’m torn about telling him he is a car­rier for that life-threat­en­ing disor­der.

Should I con­tact him and tell him he was the father of the child and that he is a car­rier of this ge­netic ab­nor­mal­ity? — TORN IN MIS­SIS­SIPPI

Dear Torn: The kind thing to do would be to con­tact your for­mer lover pri­vately. Ex­plain that you do not mean to in­trude, but he needs to know some­thing im­por­tant. Then in­form him that it could save him and his wife a world of heartache if they have ge­netic test­ing done be­fore plan­ning to have a child, and why.

Dear Abby: Decades ago, while I was a col­lege stu­dent, a friend took the time and in­ter­est to help me through a se­vere bout of de­pres­sion. She likely saved my life. She just had a kind heart and a will­ing ear. At the time, I didn’t re­al­ize the pro­found im­pact she had made. Our lives di­verged, and I never heard from her again.

Re­cently, I fi­nally de­cided to reach out and thank her, but un­for­tu­nately, an on­line search re­vealed her 10-yearold obit­u­ary. From the notes in the guest book, I dis­cov­ered she had suf­fered many per­sonal hard­ships through­out her adult life, which con­trib­uted to her early death.

Be­cause I was not able to help her as she helped me, I want to pass along two im­por­tant lessons I learned: (1) Thank peo­ple and tell them you care be­fore it is too late, and (2) be will­ing to lend a hand and an ear to some­one in need, be­cause you may be that one per­son who af­fects their life. — WITH LOVE IN MIN­NESOTA

Dear With Love: I’m sorry for the loss of your car­ing and com­pas­sion­ate friend. I’m glad you took the time to write and share what a mean­ing­ful role she had in your life.

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