10 Oct 2018

My husband loved photography, and we both loved to travel. This amazing sculpture is made of metal, in Lyon,France. (We liked it more than Paris). I've always been a people watcher, and since his death reminiscence really is the name of the game.

My neighbour is 92, very elegant, very polite, but I've never seen a sign of emotion. Then at Mr G's funeral on Saturday, as people filed past the coffin, she fell round my neck sobbing. It shook me, so I spent two hours with her this afternoon; she has spent more time in the last 20 years talking to me than with her husband, one son and two daughters.

Her husband was not very lovable, and the children paid rare duty visits, and never stayed in the house. He would not let her touch finance at all, and he would not touch a computer. Neither of the daughters can do the paper work, so the son has to do everything. I think the sobbing in church was seeing me surrounded by family, French and English friends, and my family taking part in the service.

This led me to thinking of our married friends. Some are very happily married, but take separate holidays in complete agreement, as their tastes differ. Then, among my 'sample' the holiday is dictated by the wishes of one partner. One of our most selfish friends (and I am not alone in this opinion) was mad on diving. The best diving is in fairly remote places – major resorts do not usually have good diving. His wife, who is subservient (and suffers frequent depression), loves resorts, pretty clothes, dancing. I gather that deep sea diving is exhausting, so even if there was any night life, he would have been too tired.

The 'Watershed' title presumes that you are married, for better or worse (or in a long-term successful partnership). Then comes death, you are free to do things you would never do with your O/H. Conversely you loved the same things, and, suddenly, you are bereft.

My eldest son's father-in-law was a very friendly man, but such odd ways. He hated travel, and would not go in an aeroplane. He ate no fruit or vegetables; in the May of the year he died he started to be very ill, but refused to see a doctor. By December he was taken into hospital, acute colon cancer. They operated, but he died of a heart attack shortly after. His wife was very sad, but within six months she had realised a dream, and gone to China.

I could cite several couples where one or the other hated travelling. We would say 'Well, come out with a son or daughter, why miss out?' But they were too loyal. When death, or care home, arrives, by the time they have their 'freedom' (by default, not wished for) they are too old, too ill, no money, or scared of travelling. The 'watershed' from being married to being widowed is far greater than the grief.

The Gardener

A Moodscope member.

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