Ch.172 Looking Ahead to an Uncertain Future
“Not me! I’m never going through this again!”
I was speaking with a group of friends about how lonely I have been, when Elaine, a recent widow, made the above declaration. I had just mentioned that in a year or two I might start looking for a new mate, someone with whom I could share my life. That’s when Elaine spoke up. She was referring to the possibility if she remarried that she might have to go through a second grieving period; Elaine didn’t think she could survive it.
Certainly, the risks of re-bonding are significant. For example, Lou, a man I met at Azura, had remarried at age 80 only to have his second wife develop Alzheimer’s disease within a couple years. And yet, I sense that he has no regrets.
I’ve just had a vision of my father, Miles, reading the sports section of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, with his third wife, Minnie, close by, as he neared the end of his life. Dad’s first wife died from a heart condition in her thirties; he remarried, to my mother Esther, who died from cancer in her forties. Dad married a third time, to Minnie, my stepmother, who was herself a widow. I remember Minnie wailing “Oh, no, not again” when my father suddenly succumbed to a heart attack.
I was only nine years old when my mother died, too young to sense my father’s second period of grieving. I wish now I had asked him whether the second round was different from the first (among many other questions I would ask if he were still living).
And, for me, if going through another round of grief would be the price I’d have to pay, to find someone to love, as my father did, I believe I would have no regrets.