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by Abigail Van Buren

Grieving Widower Is Hungry for Companionship, not Food

DEAR ABBY: In the past, you have printed letters about neighbors taking food to people who are grieving. I recently lost my wife of 57 years. Her death was unexpected. I ended up with a refrigerator and freezer overflowing with so much food I could not eat it all. Losing someone dear to you kills your appetite. Trust me, at a time like this, you aren't hungry.

May I offer an alternative to cooking food and taking it over, especially if the recipient lives alone? Call the person and invite him or her to dinner at your home, or ask what night you could bring dinner over and have supper with the individual.

Speaking from firsthand experience, for me the worst time of day (besides bedtime) is being alone at dinner when daylight fades. What's hard isn't that I might have to prepare or warm up some of the food someone thoughtfully brought, but it's the emptiness of the house -- the sense of isolation.

About two weeks after the funeral, a couple of dear friends invited me over for dinner and games. They understood what a difference it would make in helping me cope with a great loss. And bless my daughter and "son-in-love" for their insistence that I have dinner with them every Sunday, at a minimum, with their family. -- GRATEFUL IN LONG BEACH, CALIF.

DEAR GRATEFUL: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your wife, and thank you for taking the time to point out how important companionship can be for people who are grieving.

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