DEAR ABBY: It has been 18 years since my first wife died of cancer. She was only 49. We were a typical hard-working couple, having raised our three children to adulthood. My message is to husbands who are too busy -- or forgetful -- to say "I love you" to their wives.
During the fourth of our five-year fight with cancer, I was holding my wife in my arms trying to comfort her as I did every day. She looked up at me and whispered, "I guess you do love me after all." Her statement has haunted me ever since.
At age 26, I resigned my appointment as a U.S. Treasury agent, Federal Bureau of Narcotics, to return to our hometown in order to save our marriage. I also turned down offers in Australia and Alaska for the sake of our marriage. But somehow I neglected to say "I love you" to my wife, as I now realize I should have.
I have been happily married to a widow for the last 16 years, and I try not to let a day pass without putting my arms around her and saying, "I love you." So, husbands and fathers out there, take the time to express the obvious. The results can be truly rewarding. -- ROBERT IN FRESNO, CALIF.
DEAR ROBERT: Twenty-20 hindsight can be painfully accurate. I'm printing your letter so that others will not experience the same regret you do. It takes only a moment to say "I love you." Your message applies equally to husbands, wives, parents and children.