One Night, He Didn't Come Home

In the year 2006, our family got hit hard. My husband lost his job and was crushed. He was a real estate attorney and his firm went under with the real estate crash. He dabbled in the stock market and rather than help us, he lost a chunk of our savings while trying to get his feet back on the ground. He dropped into a deep depression and spent hours on the couch watching cooking shows on television. He got very interested in fancy wines and would spend hours researching and ordering wines on line, paying with money we really didn’t have to spend on such a luxury.

I kept working and figured he would get another job and then started badgering him to get his resume together and look for another job. Each day I’d return home hopeful that he would have found some lead, met someone new or got inspired. But then I’d be disappointed and we’d sit silently through dinner, me biting my tongue so as not to say anything that I wouldn’t be able to take back and him falling deeper and deeper into depression.

Then one day I came home and the house was unusually quiet. The kids weren’t home, and neither was Joe, my husband. I looked around and thought maybe he was at an interview. I thought it strange that he hadn’t left a note, but nothing I couldn’t overlook. After an hour, the kids came home and I pulled together dinner. It was getting late and we didn’t know what to do. I texted his cell phone, but he didn’t respond. The kids were getting hungry so we sat and ate. I mostly picked at my food, wondering why he wouldn’t at least call and let me know he would be late. The clock kept ticking and the hours passed and the kids went to bed. Now I was starting to worry. Where could he have gone? I called a few of his friends and our neighbors, thinking maybe he stopped by with one of them. Then I called his folks. No one knew where he was. After two days of unimaginable stress, I contacted the police and every local hospital. Still no Joe. Even in the retelling of the story, I get upset. It’s too hard to believe that he never came home. And yet, it’s nine years now. After seven years, I was legally able to declare him dead. A dear friend of mine matched me up with a wonderful guy. We’ve been together two years now and moved in together.

Last year, Joe’s sister called. Joe was discovered alive. He had been spotted in a nearby town. All these years missing and he didn’t have the courtesy or decency to contact me.

Has this happened to you? What advice would you give to someone in this situation?

Please share your response in the comments section below.

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