We found each other in an Internet chat room last October. Both of us were 61 years old and had lost our spouses to cancer. When we met for dinner the first time, I was prepared for the fact that Bob was a big man at 6-foot-2 and more than 400 pounds. I was not prepared for the guileless smile that drew attention away from his size.

We enjoyed each other's company so much that we made a date for dinner and a live show in Annapolis. That became our pattern, two or three times some weeks: dinner or brunch followed by live music or a movie. Many applauded Bob's agility on the dance floor during a dinner cruise. On Valentine's Day, I had my friends in an a capella quartet come to the restaurant to serenade him.

Even so, after dozens of dates, I told myself it was impractical to fall in love with someone who would die early, and so I did not let Bob know the extent of my feelings. A registered nurse, I urged him to lose weight and take better care of himself. Only then, I thought, could I allow myself to truly love him.

On July 15, just 11 days after his 62nd birthday, Bob died. I am in grief therapy. If only I had taken the chance and told him how deeply in love with him I really was.

Elizabeth Frazier, Hyattsville

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