I have been married for so long that I no longer have any idea what it is like to be single. I’ve always been an independent minded woman who made my own decisions and followed my dreams but I have come to rely on the constant presence of my husband in my life after fifty two years. He is always there to listen to my ideas, my worries, my joys, my laughter. I know that there is someone in the other room to patiently allow me to vent my frustrations or pitch my sometime crazy theories about life. He often says something I am thinking before I have even had an opportunity to open my mouth. We find the same things funny and complete each other’s sentences. Being together is as comfortable as wearing a nice soft old robe that may be a bit out of style or worn but feels just right on any day.
My man and I don’t always agree on things but that is one of the best aspects of our relationship. We do not have to be totally in sync to respect each other’s opinions. I learn from him and like to think that he also garners new information and wisdom from me. He’s a bit on the hard headed side when it comes to some things but mostly he is rather relaxed and a perfect foil for my perfectionism. Our friendship has worked out quite well over the long haul so much so that it really does feel as though we were destined to be together.
We are slowly reaching a somewhat disturbing age when we realize that the death of one or the other of us is more and more inevitable. I’d like to think that we will at least reach our nineties but my mother and both of my grandmothers died in their mid-eighties and many in his family did not even make it to those golden years. I try not to dwell on such thoughts but I already have friends who are widowed and far too many of the people who were once our dearest friends have already died. Each year it seems as though someone not too far removed from our age group passes, often somewhat suddenly.
I suppose that it is a bit morose to even speak of such things but it is in my nature to consider the future and make plans for whatever may happen. I am not so obsessed with the idea that I make myself sick over it but I do know that if anything were to happen to my husband it would require a huge adjustment for me. I was only nineteen years old when we married so I have literally spent my whole life with him.
I remember that my grandfather lived for more than twenty years after my grandmother died and for the most part he adjusted to his new situation quite well. Now and again though he would speak so nostalgically of the good times that he shared with Grandma. He would smile and call her his buddy and admit that he missed her every single day.
Being married keeps me balanced. I have a tendency to become overly absorbed in anything that I do. Because I have someone else in my life I pull myself back from switching my days and nights or becoming a total hermit. My husband reminds me of the importance of enjoying life more than I might if I were alone.
My mother was only married for eleven years when my father died. She was thirty years old and spent the next fifty four years by herself. She had to learn how to be independent and find ways of providing for a family. Back in her day women were mostly housewives and that was all she ever really wanted to do. She struggled financially for the rest of her life but her frugality and financial wizardry pulled her through. At the time of her death she fully owned her home and had zero debt but she suffered from mental illness that I sometimes wondered might have been exacerbated by the stresses of raising a family alone. In her later years she was content to be by herself but as she grew older she became more and more afraid that someone might take advantage of her. Like my grandfather she admitted that she still missed my father.
I envy women who have mastered the art of living alone. I have a cousin who has been a roaring success at fending for herself and enjoying life as a single woman. I have to admit that she has accomplished more and experienced more than I have even dreamed of doing. She is my role model in case the need ever arises for me to be alone. In the meantime I treasure my good fortune in having decades of joy with a person who understands me better than anyone ever has, sometimes more than I understand myself. It’s rather amazing to know that someone loves you in spite of many flaws. I know that I am not the easiest person in the world with whom to live but somehow he just smiles and lets me be me. I suppose that in the final analysis that is the real secret to our success. I hope to enjoy each moment that lies ahead because everyday with him is a joy and I don’t want to miss even a tiny bit of it.