DEAR ABBY: With dismay and anger I read the samples you published of announcements some people sent out regarding divorces. You seemed to find them cute. However, since your opinion is important to so many people, I don't think you should endorse jokes made out of a tragedy such as divorce. You have said in your column that divorce is like a death in the family. What if you had received an announcement like this one from a woman who had been unhappily married and whose husband had just died:
"At last, floozies, booze and tobacco finally caught up with Marvin last Tuesday, when he slipped peacefully to his undeserved reward. You are invited to help me start spending his insurance money at a champagne celebration next June 31, at 6 p.m., 123 Swing Drive, Anywhere, USA."Poor taste, isn't it? So are divorce announcements. At age 69, I am going through a divorce from my 72-year-old husband. I was a good and faithful wife. I never neglected my appearance, but he is going through a delayed midlife crisis and wants a divorce, and there is no way I can prevent it. (That's what "no fault" legislation did to us older women.)
I am devastated. I wish I could find one of those capsules that causes instant and painless death because I would be too chicken to shoot myself. (I'd probably miss.)
This letter to you is MY announcement - my only one. I doubt if you will publish it, but I had to tell someone, and I can't think of anyone else. - MRS. G. IN L.A.
DEAR MRS. G.: If you "had to tell someone," I'm glad you thought of me. Unburdening one's self is cathartic, but you need much more help than anyone can give you in a letter.
Did you know there is a suicide prevention hotline in your city? Call "information" for that number, then speak to the person there. You will be surprised how understanding and caring that stranger on the telephone will be. Many trained volunteers who man suicide prevention hotlines giving encouragement to lonely, depressed callers were "callers" themselves one time - people who have "been there," helping people who think they can't face another long night. But somehow, with a little encouragement, they manage to hang in there. And they're glad they did. (Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problem.) Please write again, Mrs. G; that's what I'm here for.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Jerry" for two and a half years.
Jerry has two children, 7 and 9, by a previous marriage. They live with their mother in a different state, but we have them for Christmas vacations and a month in the summer. They're great kids.
Now the problem: When they come for Christmas, they never have a gift for their father, not even a card. They never remember him on Father's Day or his birthday, either. I know it's not their fault; their mother should help them select a gift - even a card they signed would mean so much to Jerry.
I am not close to his ex-wife, and I am reluctant to write her a letter (or call her) to make this suggestion. She might think I'm being critical of her or putting her down, but all I want is for Jerry to be remembered on those special days. Any ideas? - ONLY A STEPMOM
DEAR STEPMOM: The next time the children visit, take them aside and tell them how much it would mean to their father to be remembered on his birthday, Christmas and Father's Day.
"Help" the children select cards or gifts, address the envelopes, affix the postage, and if you must mail these remembrances, do that too.