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Social distancing hurts for woman who lost husband

Dear Annie: My husband of almost 22 years died of cancer a few months ago. Overall, I’ve done well coping with his loss. I’m involved in our new small-town community, where we built a beautiful custom home just 3 1/2 years ago, and I have many wonderful new friends and neighbors who include me in lots of their social activities. I’m quite fortunate.

Just as my husband’s absence started to become more real for me, which has been a challenge, the coronavirus alarmism took over all our lives. The timing couldn’t be worse. Businesses are closing. Events are being canceled. And going to a store to buy essentials is suddenly a surreal experience of observing hoarders behaving with territorial abandon. As a result, I am spending more time alone.

On top of all that, I seem to disagree with most of my friends and neighbors on just how seriously to take this “crisis” in light of the fact that, by all credible accounts, this virus is far less serious for the healthy and non-elderly than the flu in an average season. I’m more worried about economic consequences of all of the hype. I wish to educate people before it’s too late for businesses, jobs and people’s livelihoods. I have made my views known, but to little avail.

All of this has me feeling isolated, depressed and at risk of alienating friends. Do you have any suggestions for how I can cope? — Wanting Nightmare to End

Dear Wanting Nightmare to End: I am so sorry you lost your husband. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted everyone and everything. Trying to educate people about your point of view will not help you feel less isolated. The last thing you want to do is alienate friends. Please listen to the guidelines from the government.

Try and remember that this very difficult time will pass. If we all do our part, this will end soon. We will come out of this isolation appreciating one another more, being more thankful for the little pleasures in life that are on hold right now. Use FaceTime or Skype to connect with your loved ones. You might not be able to physically see them, but you can still let them know how much you love them.

Below is another step we can all take while practicing social distancing: smiling at one another from afar.

Here is a poem credited to Spike Milligan:

“Smiling is infectious,

“You catch it like the flu,

“When someone smiled at me today,

“I started smiling too.

“I passed around the corner

“And someone saw my grin.

“When he smiled I realized

“I’d passed it on to him.

“I thought about that smile,

“Then I realized its worth.

“A single smile, just like mine

“Could travel round the earth.

“So, if you feel a smile begin,

“Don’t leave it undetected.

“Let’s start an epidemic quick,

“And get the world infected!”

Let’s start a smiling movement to help end the coronavirus pandemic together.

— — —

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book – featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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