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Four practical tips for preparing for the loss of a spouse

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The sound of silence was the most haunting for Thelma Zirkelbach on her first night home after her husband's death.

"I'd lost my husband, but I hadn't lost his voice, I told myself," says Zirkelbach, who had spent so many nights the previous year at hospitals with her husband Ralph, who died not long after being diagnosed with leukemia. "I picked up the phone and there was no dial tone. If the phone was dead, Ralph's voice would be gone forever."

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