DEAR ABBY: I was married to a wonderful woman who passed away five months ago after a heart attack. Why do people act as if the one who has passed away never existed? Please talk about her. Talk about her often. Tell me good things about her.
If you wonder about the right thing to say -- and I believe all mourners should hear it -- here it is: Tell me my wife loved me, tell me I made her happy, tell me she knew I loved her and knew she made me happy. Repeat it as often as you can. Out of all the friends we had, only one couple said those words to me. When I heard them I cried, but I was also comforted.
Also, it seems like many of my so-called friends have fallen off the face of the earth. Now is when they are needed most. I wish I knew why they don't come to see me. Is it me? -- ALONE IN ALABAMA
DEAR ALONE: Probably not. There could be more than one reason for it. With many couples, it is the wife who "nurtures" the social relationships. Also, your friends may be afraid that because they are couples and you are a widower, you might be uncomfortable spending time with them.
Something similar may be causing their reluctance to talk about your wife. They may fear that bringing her up in conversation will somehow cause you pain, which is why they avoid it. Death is an uncomfortable subject for many people, but I hope my readers will take your comments to heart.
If you want to end your isolation, you may have to call your friends and invite them instead of being passive and waiting for them to contact you. Please accept my sympathy for your loss.