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I admire Steve. He doesn't "should" on himself.

My brother-in-law doesn't say, I should have done this or said that. It would be a temptation for most of us in his position.

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Last fall, his wife, Mary, passed on suddenly, leaving two daughters and a week-old son.

Mary defined wife, mother, and homemaker, and adjusting to her absence has been a challenge - to say the least. Relatives, friends, and perfect strangers have rallied, supplying inspiration, food, child care, firewood, and a security system. Even with all the help, I've heard the cleaning company doubles the size of the crew they send each month. (Probably just a rumor.)

Steve misses his wife, but as a husband, he has few, if any, regrets. Sure, he messed up now and then. We all do. But he worked hard at being a good mate. Pizza dates, sappy movies, a listening ear, romantic getaways on their wedding anniversaries. At the end of her pregnancy when speculation swirled that she "must be having twins," Steve knew enough not to use terms of endearment like "Pumpkin."

Mostly he told her he loved her.

Like many American families, we found ways to personalize the memorial service when Mary passed on. One family in Jennifer Wolcott's adjoining story called their service an "appreciation."

I like that. Steve has no regrets because he was good at appreciating his wife.

My wife, after hearing me express admiration for someone, often asks, "Have you told them that yet?"

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She's right, of course. Why wait for a memorial service to appreciate someone?

Let them know now.

*We're home. Tell us how we're doing. Write the Homefront, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail us at

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