Dear Abby: Before they’re gone, tell your loved ones why you value them

Reader wishes the good qualities of longtime boyfriend hadn’t gone unsaid until it was too late.

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DEAR ABBY: My longtime boyfriend passed away after an extended illness, and I’d like to offer a suggestion to your readers I wish I had thought of before his passing.

After the funeral, I was thinking about what a wonderful man he was, so I decided to compile a list of his good qualities. The list grew longer the more I thought about his many positive attributes. They were big and small things, but they all added up to why I loved him so much.

I wish I’d had it framed and given it to him while he was healthy, or at least while he was still living. I know it would have meant the world to him. I hope my suggestion will be adopted by your readers. It could bring so much happiness to the person you love. Do it before it’s too late. — LOVED SO MUCH ABOUT HIM

DEAR LOVED: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Death is particularly poignant if there are words left unsaid. I subscribe to your philosophy. That message is eloquently conveyed in a poem included in my “Keepers” booklet. A quick and easy read, “Keepers” is a collection of poems, essays and letters readers have repeatedly asked me to reprint. Many subjects are covered, including children, parenting, animals, aging, death, forgiveness and more.

It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. “Keepers” makes an inexpensive gift for newlyweds, pet lovers, new parents, and anyone who is grieving or recovering from an illness.

What follows is the poem I mentioned:

“The Time Is Now” (Author Unknown)

If you are ever going to love me,

Love me now, while I can know

The sweet and tender feelings

Which from true affection flow.

Love me now

While I am living.

Do not wait until I’m gone

And then have it chiseled in marble,

Sweet words on ice-cold stone.

If you have tender thoughts of me,

Please tell me now.

If you wait until I am sleeping,

Never to awaken,

There will be death between us

And I won’t hear you then.

So, if you love me, even a little bit,

Let me know it while I am living

So I can treasure it.

DEAR ABBY: If I’m with a close friend and she has a prominent hair on her face, should I say anything? I appreciate it when someone brings something like that to my attention. As a member of several women’s clubs, I wouldn’t want to be known as the “hairy lady”! — HELPFUL IN VIRGINIA

DEAR HELPFUL: Of COURSE you should say something — privately. A true friend should not only tell her but also share a pair of tweezers and a pocket mirror from your makeup bag with her.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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