DEAR ABBY: After my father died unexpectedly, I didn't know what to do when my parents' next wedding anniversary came along. I was young -- under 30 -- and was not aware of the proper procedure. Should I buy my mother a gift, as I had always done for them in the past? Would it be better not to even mention the date to my mother? As I recall, I invited my mother for dinner, no gift, and only a mention of what day it was when we finished dinner. Now I feel I did the right thing. She knew I remembered, and she was not alone for dinner.
My husband died unexpectedly last summer. Today would have been our 54th wedding anniversary. In the past we had exchanged cards with certain friends and relatives on such an occasion. Yesterday I received a lovely letter from our best man's widow, recalling pleasant times we shared in the past. That is the only indication from anyone that the anniversary of our special day was today. I appreciated the letter I received so much, but I am sad that no other close friend or relative remembered.
I would suggest that when close friends or relatives are in a similar situation, sending a "thinking of you" card would be much appreciated. I feel so alone and forgotten -- and ashamed that I have been guilty of the same neglect of others in the past. I didn't realize how much it would mean to know that others remembered, too. No name or city, please. Just sign me ... SAD WIDOW IN ILLINOIS
DEAR SAD WIDOW: Please accept my sympathy on the loss of your beloved husband. There is much to be learned from your letter about the value of reaching out to others.