Today’s Dear Abby column is all about couples who find love after a long-term marriage ends with the death of one spouse. The letters were in response to “Just Wondering in the Bay Area” (July 26) who asked about proper protocol regarding dating after a spouse’s death. Our family has a great story to add to the conversation.
My husband’s father Norm died a year and a half ago, leaving his wife Myra a few months short of what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary. She went into deep grieving and lost a lot of weight. We were concerned that she just wanted to lay down and die.
Norm and Myra had been friends for 53 years with Al and Marcia. They met when my husband met Al and Marcia’s daughter in kindergarten, and have been fast friends all these years. Al’s wife Marcia died last year, on November 1, 2009. He also went into deep grief over the loss of his wife. He had Marcia’s name tattooed on both of his arms.
Then a funny thing happened in January of this year. Al came to visit Myra, and they discovered they had so much in common that they never knew. The two act like teenagers, thrilled to be in each others’ company. Al has moved in with Myra, and they are taking the trip of a lifetime on a Mediterranean cruise and a week in Florence Italy.
Both Myra and Al had spent the last few years caring for longtime spouses with serious medical conditions. They are both in their early 80s and healthy for people their age. We are thrilled to see them happy and enjoying life.
And still, they recognize the life that they each had with their longtime spouses. Both keep pictures on their nightstands — Myra with Norm’s picture on her side of the bed, and Al with Marcia’s picture. Life goes on, and it can continue with love and joy.