Annie's Mailbox: A Time To Grieve
Dear Annie: I love your column, but disagree with the advice you gave to "Frustrated Husband," whose wife visits with her irritating ex-college roommate. You suggested he visit family and friends elsewhere in order to avoid the woman.
The husband's feelings should take priority over the ex-roommate. The wife and the annoying ex-roommate should be the ones to go elsewhere. -- J.J.
Dear J.J.: This type of reaction happens often enough that we think your letter is a good time to address it: Readers expect us to somehow issue commands to a third party who hasn't asked for any help. The husband wrote, not the wife. She has no problem with her ex-roommate. While we agree that it is unfair to the husband to make the adjustment, advising him to pressure his wife into going elsewhere might cause a different, more serious problem. If they can talk it out and reach a compromise, that would obviously be best. Otherwise, instead of stewing over it, he might use the time to take his own little vacation.
Dear Annie: About four years ago, you printed a wonderful letter from Norbert Tackman. I put it on my fridge because my husband had died the year before. It gives me strength when I think of him. Would you reprint it? -- Memphis, Tenn.
Dear Memphis: With pleasure. Here it is:
Dear Annie: My wife died 11 years ago, after 49 wonderful years together. I am now 81, and many of my friends are losing their spouses. Recently, a friend's husband died, and I felt the need to help her. So I wrote the following letter. If you think it might help others, please print it. -- Norbert Tackman
Dear Norbert: We think you have put some wise thoughts down on paper, and we know they will bring comfort to many. Thank you.
A Time To Grieve
What could have been is gone. What was is still in your memories. You'll always think there must have been more you could have done, more times you could have said "I love you." Times you think, "Why didn't I hold him more? Why didn't I do this or that?" You did all those things. You just need to remember them.
Remember the times when you held hands as you walked, when you held one another and kissed, when you shared a sunset or a walk through a garden. Remember that great vacation you had together. Remember when you made love and shared that special time. Remember how your love never dimmed but got stronger over the years.
Remember when you first met and fell in love. Then go through your life remembering the special moments, one after another. When you had children. When you laughed or cried. That trip to get away. Visiting friends. A party. Going to church. When you redecorated the house. Little things only you and he shared.
Push out of your mind the memories that make you sad, and replace them immediately with good memories. Something that makes you smile.
In the weeks after his passing, the relatives go on with their lives, your friends don't call as often, and you're left alone. This is the time to be more involved with your favorite organizations, your church, your friends. In other words, keep busy. Be with other people. Push yourself to do things, no matter how small. Don't feel sorry for yourself -- you have much to offer to others, and your fellowship will give back twice as much to you.
There is nothing wrong with crying. It's part of the loss. It's part of the grief. Accept the aching need to have him back, the need to hold him and tell him you love him. But always remember to say, "What a good life we had."
He knew you loved him and cared about him. Just as you know he loved you and cared about you. Remember, he is watching over you. He doesn't want you to suffer. He wants you to be happy for all the time you had together. God bless you.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.