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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Valentine's Day is here and, to be honest, I don't know much about St. Valentine. So I wonder if he meant the day to only be about lovers.

Is there any reason I shouldn't send valentines to my friends? Why should anyone feel bad because they're not "with" someone? If you love and/or care about a person, can't you send them a box of chocolates, a card or some flowers? It seems to me this should be a time of year you can let a buddy know you appreciate him, or let your brother, cousin, sister, neighbor or co-worker know you care.

It doesn't have to be mushy. Happy Valentine's Day to you, Abby! -- TIM IN SYRACUSE

DEAR TIM: Valentine's Day may have started as a celebration of romance and romantic love, but it has broadened to acknowledge other kinds of love and affection. There's absolutely no reason you cannot celebrate the way you described.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, Tim, and to all my readers, for whom I have great appreciation and affection.

Sister Warns Widower Against Gold-Digger He's Dating

DEAR ABBY: My brother is a 59-year-old widower. He has dated a few women over the years, and he's very afraid of being alone.

The woman he is with now has made it clear that she is with him because he can provide financial security for her. She's pushing him to move in together and get married, but only after he sells his house and buys a new one. She said she could never live there because his deceased wife lived there. However, she is unable to contribute anything financially, so this would all be out of his pocket. He looks past all of this.

I have told him I'm worried about her using him for his money, but he doesn't want to hear it. How can I get through to him? -- WISE SISTER IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR SISTER: You obviously can't. However, his lawyer might be able to deliver that message more effectively than you. This is why you should strongly encourage him to have a talk with his lawyer before he sells his house or formalizes his arrangement with this lady, who has made her objectives crystal clear.

Sympathy for Widowed Mother Ignores Child's Pain

DEAR ABBY: My father passed away after a long illness four months ago. I lived in the same building as my parents, but a different apartment. (I still do.)

Obviously, I encounter other tenants in the public areas of the building. Since my father's death, most of them have asked me how my mother is doing. However, no one has ever asked me how I am doing. Frankly, it's very hurtful. Dad was getting hospice care at home, so I experienced his decline and finally the loss. Why does no one care to offer me any words of sympathy? -- STILL GRIEVING

DEAR STILL GRIEVING: When there is a death, many people are uncomfortable. They don't mean to be insensitive; they simply don't know what to say to the grieving relatives.

I assume that your mother and father are/were elderly. The death of a spouse after many decades of marriage can be so traumatic that the partner goes into a decline. Your neighbors may assume that because you are younger and stronger, that you are more resilient and therefore are doing fine. Please don't hold the fact that they haven't asked how you are doing against them.

Read more in: Death | Family & Parenting

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