DEAR ABBY: I’m married to a wonderful man. “Dave” and I are in our late 30s.

When Dave was about 5, he was with two of his cousins who were about the same age. The three were inseparable. While they were playing, the smaller cousin fell into a pond, and the older one jumped in after him and tried to save him. All my husband could do was stand and watch as both of his little cousins – his best friends – drowned before his eyes. He ran for help, but by then it was too late.

I know most of the story from my mother-in-law, as Dave is unwilling to talk about it.

Last night, I went upstairs and there was my darling, weeping uncontrollably. Dave told me that he lives with horrible depression every day because of what happened, and he can’t get past it. I want my husband to see a grief counselor, but he refuses because he doesn’t think he’d be able to talk about it.

Abby, I love my husband. He doesn’t deserve to live with this horror for the rest of his life. How can I convince him to get professional help? – HURTING FOR MY HUSBAND

Remind Dave that when this happened, he was only 5, and under the circumstances, he did everything he could to save his cousins. Although this incident, which has haunted him all these years, will be difficult to talk about, it’s the only way to rid himself of the feelings of helplessness and survivor guilt from which he is clearly suffering.

Talking to a counselor will help him to reclaim his life and rid himself of his depression. For a couple of sessions, he may indeed just sit there and cry. But tears can be healing. And eventually he WILL be able to talk about what happened.

Clip this column, give it to your husband, and tell him that I, too, am urging him to get the help he needs. He’s in my thoughts and prayers, and the longest journey begins with a single step.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in the process of creating a will. We have a 29-year-old son, married, with two young daughters. We also have a single 25-year-old son.

I have an engagement diamond with matching wedding band, and a mother’s ring with diamonds and rubies. Both are of great sentimental value to me. Because I don’t have a daughter, what is standard etiquette? My instinct is to will them to both granddaughters, but I don’t want my daughter-in-law to feel slighted. She’s very important to me. Any “rules” on this one? – WONDERING IN MINNESOTA

DEAR WONDERING: Leave them to your granddaughters. Upon your death, they should go to your daughter-in-law for “safekeeping” until the girls are old enough to appreciate both their monetary and sentimental value.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently at a family gathering with my husband’s family. His uncle was hosting the party, and his wife asked me a question that I honestly didn’t know the answer to.

His uncle’s wife asked me how she should introduce me to their friends. Should she say, “This is our nephew’s wife” or should she introduce me as their “niece”? What’s the right answer for a situation like this? – NANCY IN ARNOLD, MD.

Tell your husband’s aunt that the next time she makes the introductions, she should say, “This is our nephew, ‘Bob,’ and his lovely wife, Nancy,” and to say it with a smile.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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