Dear Abby: No one’s calling since my husband’s death, and I feel so alone

After four months without him, widow is prone to meltdowns and feels like a burden.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away four months ago, after battling cancer for years. He declined in a month, and we chose hospice at home. (I did not find them particularly caring or helpful.) This was even more depressing because it happened during COVID.

After my husband’s death, all the emotional support stopped — no family visits and no phone calls. If I don’t text, I have no contact with anyone. After a marriage of 55 years, I am now totally isolated and alone. I have meltdowns at times over nothing. Sleep escapes me. Grief counseling is shut down except for Zoom, and I don’t have a computer.

I know it takes years to adjust to a new way of life, but my mobility issues aren’t helping. I was always independent; now I feel like a burden. It takes me forever to get around. Abby, I’m not sure how to proceed from here. Any suggestions for moving forward? — TOO MUCH CHANGE IN FLORIDA

DEAR TOO MUCH CHANGE: Yes, I do! Place a call to your physician and tell them what’s going on. Because you have no computer, peer-to-peer grief counseling by phone may be an option. There might be help for your sleep problems as well. As to your meltdowns, in time they will lessen. But you must accept that grieving is a process that takes time.

When you feel isolated, do you pick up the phone and call others, or do you expect them to do the calling? A step toward healthy independence would be to make yourself reach out and communicate with others. You might also consider adopting a dog, which would not only force you to get out of the house — which is healthy — but also give you an opportunity to meet others.

I know it’s sometimes an effort to just get out of bed. But if you start doing these things, they are all steps in the right direction and will help you to reclaim your life.

DEAR ABBY: When I texted my faraway sibling, “Pat,” to thank them for a thoughtful gift I really liked, they said, “Oh no, the mailing labels for the boxes mailed to you and our other sibling must have been mixed up.” Then Pat insisted I immediately trade gifts with our sibling. Pat immediately contacted our mutual sibling’s spouse to inform them of the mix-up rather than trust me to handle the situation.

Am I wrong to feel that Pat should have left well enough alone, since I had expressed appreciation for the gift, and sent a similarly thoughtful gift to its intended sibling to rectify things? I have never been in a situation like this before, but it seems to me that I am getting the short end of the stick. — MIXED-UP OVER THE MIXUP

DEAR MIXED-UP: Not knowing the discrepancy between the gift you received and the one your sibling received, I can’t judge whether you got “the short end of the stick.” But Pat should have replaced the gift received by the sibling rather than insist you relinquish the one you received. I don’t blame you for being offended. The way Pat handled the situation was beyond rude.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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