Dear Ann Landers:

"Please come home early." This was the most unreasonable request ever made by my wife of almost 40 years.

She didn't make this request often. It came mostly on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, but it seemed that I always had so many things to do that in spite of her gentle urging, I rarely came home early.

I don't want to give the impression that I was never at home. I was at home a lot. We rarely did anything out of the ordinary. We enjoyed the kids and the grandchildren. We listened to music, read the paper, and had meals together. Sometimes we would just talk about how the day had gone.

Now I know why she asked me so often to "Please come home early." She wasn't just lonely, she was lonely for me. When she passed away a short time ago, I learned firsthand what loneliness is all about.

I have a supportive family and many good friends. I'm free now to go places and do things, but I'm lonesome. Lonesome for her.

Now that she's gone, I've found the time to "come home early," but there is nobody to come home to. There is nobody to do those simple little things with, such as watching the evening news listening to music, and reading the paper. And nobody cares how my day went.

If I should get a call from the good Lord to "Please come home early," I won't fight it.

-Lonesome in K.C.

-Sermons Illustrated May/June 1989