DEAR ABBY: Valentine's Day is approaching, and I wanted to write concerning those of us who are single by choice, by circumstance, because of the death of a spouse or divorce.
This holiday was set aside to celebrate love and lovers, but it can be a lonely time for people who find themselves without a significant other. Valentine's Day is so commercialized that one is bombarded by ads for gifts, candy, etc., from every angle, which only enforces one's aloneness. The message is subtly sent -- but received loud and clear -- that an individual without a partner is worthless.
I would like to urge your readers this year to include those who are alone through divorce or widowhood in their celebration of this day. Make it a day on which they too can feel special, loved, and a part of things rather than isolated, forgotten and alone.
And don't stop there. All holidays can be lonely for those who have lost loved ones. Include these people in your holiday plans. You will be blessed by sharing, and they will be uplifted to know someone cares. -- SOLO IN TEXAS
DEAR SOLO: Thank you for your letter. Readers, if you're feeling down because you don't have a special valentine, the surest cure for the blues is to do something for someone else. Call someone who's alone to say, "I'm thinking about you."
If you know someone who's in a nursing home, take some flowers. Put your discarded items in a box and call your favorite charity. Donate some blood. Listen to your teenager. Tell your parents you think they're great. Forgive an enemy. Send a donation to a food program that benefits the needy.
And if you love someone, tell him or her now; please don't wait until next Valentine's Day to be a sweetheart again.