DEAR ABBY: I have a bone to pick with you. I am a widow living in a seniors building. One of the residents brought your column on sending anniversary cards to a surviving spouse to the community room.
Your advice was wrong! There are eight of us here who should know. Speaking for myself, I would NOT want to receive an anniversary card, because one person cannot celebrate something that two people should. The day should be remembered because it is important, but instead, take the surviving spouse to dinner or to an event to show that you remember. -- EIGHT WIDOWS, VAN DYKE CENTER, DETROIT
DEAR EIGHT WIDOWS: Thank you for offering an opposing viewpoint that was not reflected in the mail I have received. Most widows and widowers who wrote expressed sadness that friends and relatives ignored the anniversary after the spouse died. Sending a card is less expensive than entertaining -- and can mean just as much. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The recent letter from "Concerned Sister-in-Law" moved me to write. She said her mother-in-law had died in 1989, but her sister-in-law still sends anniversary cards to her father. She asked if that was healthy and normal.
Abby, your answer was right on! It is healthy and normal. My husband died three months before our 55th wedding anniversary. On our anniversary, our daughter gave me a gift, a potted plant and a coffee mug with her father's name on it. It made a lonely day a little brighter.
"Concerned" should be thankful that her sister-in-law shows her love for her father by celebrating the memory of her mother. -- JERRIE FROM VALRICO, FLA.
DEAR JERRIE: Many widows and widowers wrote to confirm that such thoughtful gestures make a sad day more bearable. Read on for a letter from a widow who was less fortunate than you:
DEAR ABBY: I have followed your column for many years, but have never written because I've had a beautiful life and few complaints. I had a marvelous husband for 28 years -- until cancer took him from me.
We had three wonderful sons who never gave us a minute's trouble. They married terrific wives and gave us beautiful grandchildren. So why am I writing? Let me tell you:
Yesterday was my 33rd anniversary, and not a soul mentioned it. When I went to bed last night, I hugged my husband's picture and recalled the happiness of our wedding day. Tears streamed down my face because no one remembered. Even though my spouse will never be with me again on this special date, it's still our anniversary and always will be. -- A YOUNG WIDOW IN GEORGIA
DEAR YOUNG WIDOW: Perhaps your letter will be the catalyst that inspires others to do something positive on those special occasions.
Readers: Now you have both sides of the story. It's up to you to decide if cards, flowers or even a telephone call is thoughtful and appropriate on a birthday or wedding anniversary if one spouse is deceased. I'm confident that you will conclude it is.