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by Abigail Van Buren

Widow Keeps Husband Alive in Every Conversation

DEAR ABBY: My friend who was suddenly widowed two years ago continues to insert her late husband into every conversation with friends and strangers alike. She's still depressed, grieving and searching for significance, and she shares it all in person and online.

Early on, she had counseling but no longer feels it necessary. She claims it helps her to talk about him constantly. Most of us close to her avoid the elephant in the room. I find myself apologizing for her in group gatherings I take her to. People try to offer sympathy, but are surprised when they realize he's been gone two years.

I endure with love, but wonder if this is the best path. Personally, I want to let him rest in peace. But that's hard when he's always "in the room." Advice? -- WANTING TO MOVE FORWARD

DEAR WANTING: Everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timetable. However, your friend may need more support and counseling than you and others she meets socially can offer. She has my sympathy, but that deeply grieving woman needs to hear what you have written to me. Tell her, as kindly as possible, that she needs to vent to a professional so she can get more help through this difficult period.

Read more in: Death | Friends & Neighbors | Mental Health