Most everyone knows that losing a mate to death is a painful experience. Those who have not had such a loss of someone very close, seldom realize the depth and breadth of that pain. As a result, in an effort to make the bereaved (or themselves) feel better, and to distance themselves from the event they say and do some outrageous and unthinking things. Others, possessing very tender hearts, say and do some of the kindest things imagineable. Most all of us who participated in writing this book found ourselves surprised by other people's reactions to our loss. The Widow or Widower Next Door is a collection of stories that reveal the unexpected reactions that occur. We prepare for school by attending Pre-K. We prepare to get our Driver's License by taking driving lessons. We got to pre-marital counseling before we wed. Nothing, but nothing prepares us for the loss of a spouse. We hope this book will get people thinking and preparing, and we hope that it will help them learn how to better help a friend or a neighbor with such a loss. Readers have asked why is there a logo of a hand with a heart in it as the cover of the book? The answer lies in The Valentine's Story, excerpted from the book: "The doctors told me that Pat was not going to be with me much longer. I took a red marker and a ballpoint pen with me to the hospital on Valentine's Day. I took his hand and drew a heart on his palm. I wrote "my heart" inside it and said 'I love you; you hold my heart in your hand'. The mortician left it in place. Pat still holds my heart in his hand and my heart is warm because of it.