Fam­ily strug­gles to come to­gether after sis­ter’s sui­cide at­tempt

The Day - - DAYBREAK - By Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A year ago my sis­ter “Jan” started dat­ing this guy, “Miles,” who soon moved in with her. Ev­ery­one in our fam­ily was wel­com­ing un­til she started telling us their prob­lems. We thought things be­tween them had im­proved, but re­cently Jan tried to take her own life be­cause she could no longer han­dle the stress.

I ad­mit I had dis­tanced my­self from her be­fore this tragedy hap­pened. I haven't for­given him, but I re­al­ize she's old enough to make her own de­ci­sions and will con­tinue to do what she wants with whom she wants.

I now tol­er­ate Miles be­cause I don't want to push her away. I al­most lost her once in a ter­ri­ble way, and I refuse to lose her in any other way again. I have worked to have a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with my sis­ter. My hus­band, on the other hand, re­fuses to let things go with Miles, and be­cause of it our fam­ily is in jeop­ardy.

I prac­ti­cally beg him to just be cor­dial so Jan and I can have the ones we love around us in the same room. My hus­band re­fuses. He blames Miles for her sui­cide at­tempt, even though she has told us re­peat­edly it wasn't about him.

I'm stuck and don't know where to go from here. I just want to be able to have our fam­i­lies to­gether with­out prob­lems. What do you sug­gest I do? — STUCK IN THE MID­DLE

DEAR STUCK: Tell your hus­band that your sis­ter is emo­tion­ally frag­ile and needs all the sup­port she can get. Point out that iso­la­tion can be a con­tribut­ing fac­tor for de­pres­sion and sui­cide. If he thinks he is be­ing sup­port­ive by blam­ing Miles for what hap­pened, he is mis­taken.

Your hus­band and Miles don't have to be “bud­dies.” Surely your hus­band is ma­ture enough to tol­er­ate Miles' pres­ence for a short time dur­ing gath­er­ings, if only for your sis­ter's sake. How­ever, if he isn't, per­haps he will lis­ten to a sui­cide pre­ven­tion coun­selor, who can ex­plain the im­por­tance of fam­ily sup­port.

DEAR ABBY: I at­tend re­li­gious ser­vices with a won­der­ful group of peo­ple. For some rea­son our fam­ily has been cho­sen to re­ceive not only every­body's hand-me-downs, but new clothes as well. We re­ceive sev­eral large bags of clothes each sea­son.

I hate to seem un­grate­ful, but I don't have the time or room to keep a large ro­ta­tion of cloth­ing for my kids. Their room is a mess, and most of it is cloth­ing I didn't even buy. Is there a nice way to stop ac­cept­ing these gifts? — THE CHO­SEN FAM­ILY

DEAR CHO­SEN: Of course! Thank the pas­tor of your church for the gen­eros­ity that has been shown to your fam­ily. Then ex­plain that you can't use all of the cloth­ing you are be­ing given and sug­gest that from now on those items be saved for a needy fam­ily who could use them.

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