DEAR ABBY: Valentine’s Day is nearly here, and it can be a sad day for people who are alone – especially for widows and widowers living by themselves.

This holiday can be more painful for them than birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays because they are constantly bombarded with images of love by retailers.

I would like to offer a suggestion that can turn an otherwise difficult day into a day for them to look forward to. Last year, my fiance and I spent Valentine’s Day with his widowed grandmother.

Her husband has been gone 10 years, and she has not remarried. He was her soul mate, the center of her life. We wanted to do something to make it a day she could look forward to.

Abby, I cannot tell you how happy she was when we told her we would be spending the evening with her.

She had the table set for dinner by noon that day. When we arrived, she was glowing. We stayed for hours and listened as she told stories about her life with her husband. We both learned so much that we didn’t know about her life and family. We wouldn’t trade that night for anything.

As a couple in love, we get to spend every day celebrating our love for each other. We don’t need a day set aside to remind each other of that.

Valentine’s Day is about love. It doesn’t have to be romantic love. We have decided to spend every Valentine’s Day from now on with her, so we can make it “her” special day.

Everyone knows someone who has lost the one that he or she loves.

I see no reason not to take a little time to make this a special day for them. Such a small gift can make a world of difference. – BETH IN BAKERSFIELD, CALIF.

Thank you for a beautiful letter. From reading it, I know you and your fiance have a wonderful future ahead of you.

You have made an important point. Regardless of the holiday hype, the most precious gift a person can give to another isn’t one that’s tangible. It’s the gift of time. Although Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love, we all know that there are many kinds of love.

On Wednesday, I hope that none of my readers who are unattached will sit at home alone and brood. Reach out to other singles!

Rent a stack of videos, pop some popcorn, sit back and enjoy each other’s company. Or pick up the phone and call someone to say that he or she is in your thoughts. Everyone likes to be remembered.

For those lucky folks who “have everything,” take a moment and thank the good Lord that you are so blessed.

And while you’re at it, offer up a prayer for the safety of the men and women who are serving our country in all four corners of the globe, as well as their families at home who are doing without them. I have found that doing so puts everything in perspective.

DEAR READERS: Here’s your smile for the day. The children will love this!

Question: What is smarter than a talking parrot?

Answer: A spelling bee!

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

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