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by Abigail Van Buren

Designer's High Success Can't Match Family's Expectations

DEAR ABBY: If you have been asked this question before, please forgive me. I was wondering what the proper etiquette is about going out (not dating -- just appearing in public) after your husband dies. Is there a waiting period?

My husband passed away two weeks ago. I attended our church festival with two girlfriends, and I felt like I was being stared at. We didn't stay long.

I am only 51 and my husband was 52. I know he would not have wanted me to stay at home -- but I want to do the right thing. -- NEWLY WIDOWED, BADEN, PA.

DEAR NEWLY WIDOWED: I have always felt that the time to show "respect" for a spouse is while the person is living. The right time to resume a social life varies from person to person. If you felt you needed some company and diversion, no one should criticize you for it. However, some people are by nature critical and judgmental. If you live your life to please them, you'll be making a mistake. Enjoy every minute with which you are blessed.