So, as you may know, I’m a worrier, but here’s the worry always in the back of my mind…
A couple years ago, I read an amazing memoir, Epilogue by Anne Roiphe. Her husband died suddenly after 39 years of marriage, and she wrote about her daily life after his death. What broke my heart was how she missed the little things–like the way her husband cut onions–and she’d wake up surprised that he wasn’t lying next to her.
Although she was a successful writer with lots of friends in Manhattan, her days grew long and lonely. She resisted calling her daughters every evening since, as she said, “they had their own lives.” She got restless at home, but when she was out of the apartment, she just wanted to hurry back. As an effort to move on, she tried online dating. Her stories were sweet and hilarious. (One guy felt her up in the middle of a restaurant, eeks!)
Honest, funny and touching, Epilogue was a true love story. Here are a few beautiful paragraphs Anne Rophie wrote about her husband that will make your heart swell. I’d highly recommend the book, if you want an amazing read.
However, reading Epilogue had a strange and unexpected side effect: It made me miss Alex, even when he was right there. I would get so drawn into the book–and felt so connected with the author, as if I were living her days with her–that I would momentarily feel as if I, too, had lost my husband. Then I would hear Alex making hot chocolate in the kitchen, or he’d walk into the bedroom to read next to me, and I would almost tear up that I actually had him here me, in the flesh, to hug tightly and smell his scent and lie next to and talk to. It made me feel so lucky.
Love is such an amazing, powerful thing, but you have so much to lose. To be honest, sometimes it scares me. Who knows what the future will bring? If you’ll be left alone? Alex, who is thirteen years older, is such a huge part of my daily life, I can’t imagine living without him. (And who knows, I might not have to.) It’s hard to think about. Happily, day to day, it reminds me not to take my relationship for granted, not to hurry through a goodnight kiss or goofy joke or random hug in the kitchen; those little moments are what life and marriage are all about.
I sort of feel nuts writing this post, and I almost didn’t. Am I neurotic to think about this? Or is it normal and natural to think about sometimes? I mean, it is part of everyday life.
Do you ever worry about your romantic partner dying? Has anyone close to you ever died? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
(Vintage photo from Superbomba)