DAVID BLAUSER, if you're reading this, please know that your wife, Denise, loves you so much.
And whatever trouble you're in, she'll face it with you - if only you'd come home.
You've been missing since April 23. Denise doesn't know where you are. But she knows you read the Daily News. She hopes you'll read this column, so she can let you know that nothing can keep her from wanting you back in her life.
"I just need him," she told me on Saturday. I sat with her while she sobbed in the living room of the house in Holme Circle that you and she lovingly made into a home for yourselves and your sons, now ages 22 and 17.
"He's my best friend. I miss him so much. I am worried to death," Denise said.
"I knew something was wrong. I kept saying, 'What is it, Dave? Just tell me what's going on.' It didn't matter. He just got more isolated. I knew he wasn't well. But I didn't know what to do."
She didn't know that, for two months, you hadn't shown up at the Bustleton branch of the U.S. Post Office, where you worked as a mail carrier for 14 years. Each morning, you'd leave the house for work, and she'd leave for her secretary job at the Philadelphia Water Department.
She now believes that you most likely returned to the house shortly afterward, and went back to bed.
She also knows that your co-workers would call the house and leave worried messages for you, and that your supervisors wrote warning letters that your job was in jeopardy.
But it appears that you intercepted the communications. So she didn't know how bad things had gotten.
"I found out that he'd been borrowing money from people to deposit into our checking account, so it looked like he was still getting paid," she told me.
But something was off about the amounts. When she asked to see your pay stubs, you said you couldn't find them.
"I knew he was lying," she said. "I knew he wasn't himself. I didn't know how to get through."
You left the house on April 23, and drove away in your red, 2004 Chevy Colorado truck. (PA license plate YNG-9940). Denise thought you went to your brother's house, but you never showed. When you didn't return the next day, she called the cops to report you missing.
In the aftermath, it was discovered that you'd stashed 20,000 pieces of mail in the back of the garage. Some dated from 1997, but Denise thinks most of the stashing started after May 2007.
That was when your life started to fray.
First, you were forced to euthanize the family's beloved, ailing German shepherd. Four days later, Denise's dad died of cancer.
"Dave's dad abandoned him when he was a kid, and my father was like the father he never had," said Denise. "We'd go to dinner on Saturdays with him and my mom; we played cards. When my dad got sick, Dave took him for radiation. They were so close. When dad died, Dave took it as hard as I did."
Then Denise's back gave out. Overnight, she went from being active - using a rowing machine, riding a bike, walking the dogs - to being an invalid. The first surgery to treat her herniated discs only worsened her pain.
She had to rely on you for everything. Cooking, shopping, laundry - you had to do it all. When Denise's second surgery kept her out of work for nine months, the stresses added up.
Then, unbelievably, your mom died.
"It was one thing after another," Denise told me. "I think Dave couldn't function any more. And I was so distracted by my pain, I didn't notice until the last few months that he was having a hard time. By then it was too late. I feel like I let him down."
Since you've been gone, evidence has emerged that you're still in the area. Your credit card was being used until Denise canceled the account, hoping to force you home. Instead, you just about cleaned out a small savings account.
"That was May 10th," said Denise, fearfully. "I'm wondering if he sold his truck, so he could have money."
Your brother, uncle and cousin have spent nights searching the shelters for you. Perhaps you've seen them driving slowly through Pennypack Park, or along the river, asking people if they've seen your truck.
A spokeswoman with the missing-persons unit at Northeast Detectives said yesterday that your case remains open, until police can physically check you out themselves, to see if you're OK. If you are, and you don't want to go home, they won't force you, since adults are allowed to come and go as they please.
As for that stashed mail, it's all been delivered, said Scott Balfour, a special agent in the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service. No charges have been filed against you, although you probably know there's a federal statute against delaying delivery of U.S. mail.
"This isn't the biggest crime in the world," said Balfour. "But obviously, we would like to get this case resolved so he can move on and put this behind him."
Denise knows you're feeling guilty about all that's happened. She wants you to understand that she knows you're not in your right mind. If you were, you never would have left your boys.
The oldest is Denise's son with her late first husband. The second is your biological son, with Denise. You went to their rugby games, watched the Flyers on TV, wrestled with them and the dogs on the floor. They're beside themselves with worry.
"Dave hated his dad for abandoning him as a child. He'd never leave his sons if he were right in the head," said Denise. "I'm telling you, he's a good man, but something has snapped. He needs help."
Her biggest fear, Dave, is that the police will knock on the door, tell her that you're gone, that she won't have had a chance to help you get the help you need.
Please call her, Dave. She needs you. Your sons need you.
They love you so much.
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