DEAR ABBY: My wife of 43 years died nine months ago after losing her four-year battle with cancer. I met a woman who had also experienced tragedy in her life, and we started seeing each other casually. When my wife's three sisters found out, I became the outcast. Why do people think there is a set time to grieve? Life is too short to sit and pine. Memories will always be there.
This woman has brought me out of my depression and sorrow. I can't understand how people I thought cared for me could be so mean. I was told by the pastor and hospice counselor that grieving takes time, but what is enough time? I was also told to look at the marriages of these women. When I did, I realized that they were unhappy in their unions and probably don't want anyone else to be happy. So what do I do now? -- OUTCAST IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OUTCAST: You have had more than four years to grieve your late wife's illness and death. Now go on with your life and don't look back.
There's a story in the book of Genesis about a man named Lot, whose wife looked back during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and was turned into a pillar of salt. What I take from the story is that sometimes it isn't healthy for people to spend a lot of time looking backward, because if you do, you too can become "frozen" and unable to move forward with your life.