Another perspective

The following is reprinted from
Goodbye is part of the deal.
Unless you can manage to die simultaneously in a car crash, one of you is going to be left behind.

Still, thoughts of widowhood have been safely sequestered away from my consciousness for the past thirty years. But even denial has a saturation point.
I have a cadre of widowed aunts that have bravely shown me what it means to love up until the end and beyond. The messiness of bodies that no longer behave as they were intended took center stage for some of them, while others simply lay in bed next to their husbands whose hands grew quietly cold as they slipped away.
This will never happen to me, of course. At least that is the straw man I hold up against the pounding fear of solitude.
Actually, when the children were small and we had no cell phones, I did think about it. Whenever John was more than an hour late and my imagination went into overdrive, I leaped into a strategic plan of coping as a single mother. I would move in with my parents, thrust my homeschooled children into classrooms and harness a job. But before I got to the point of taking John’s clothes to Goodwill, he always walked in the door.
Still, all those thoughts were about the children. They never opened the Pandora’s box of what it would feel like to be lonely.
The other day John and I went to serenade a widow on her anniversary. She greeted us eagerly, and tearfully put the flowers we offered in a vase as she chatted about her husband of many years. She was bursting with stories and needed tissues as she showed us photographs. I was not feeling particularly nostalgic about John that afternoon, and was carried along by this dear woman’s abundant devotion to a man whose hand she could no longer touch.
As we walked out, I thought, “I still have my husband. I could gush a little.”
I reached for his hand as we headed home.
This could make those of us who are widowed sad, but it can also make us feel good that our situation and our response to it can help to inspire couples to appreciate and work on their marriages.

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