Missing their Partners

“Part of the problem is that Arlene was involved in almost every part of my life. I knew her since the fifth grade. She was, and is connected to every stage except this one.”

Nodding his head Sal offers”You know what I miss the most? Her laugh, she thought I was the funniest man alive, and would howl at my stories even after she had heard them many times before.”

“I used to marvel at how many people were in Arlene’s network. She was constantly on the phone counseling, or listening to the joys and woes of her friends and family. At her funeral it seemed that everyone said that she was their best friend. The outpouring really helped, especially for the kids.”

“Amazing how many lives they touched. Helens’ colleagues at the hospital regaled us at the funeral home with stories about how she was always calm even in the midst of the emergency room crises.. For weeks after the funeral we received notes from grateful patients she had treated.”

Michael appears to be very serious and pauses before he speaks,

“You know Sal there are not many opportunities to talk about these things. I feel like I am talking to myself with you, because you have so many similar thoughts.”

“I think it’s a guy thing Mike, we were not raised in a world where men talked about loss and feelings.’

“I think the kids today are different and talk about things openly that we would have never considered raising. Even with Arlene, my kids would discuss topics that my parents would have been shocked to hear.”

:” It’s all about comfort Mike. Helen had a great antenna for what was going on with our kids. She had a real skill to get them to open up and confide in her.”

: “I have a great antenna also, but I never knew how to approach the kids.”

“that’s where I believe our wives were different. They plowed through the discomfort, and we retreated from it.”

“Do you think our kids knew how much we loved them?”

“Depends on whether we told them, and showed them that it was true.”

: “I wish that I had been more open with my kids, but it seemed that there was never enough time. When I think of the hectic schedule that I kept for years, it’s hard to believe that I have so much free time.”

: “
:” Tell me about it.as a business consultant I averaged one hundred and sixty thousand air miles a year. In those days I longed for more time to engage in hobbies and other pursuits. Be careful what you wish for Mike.”

“What hobbies and pursuits?”

“I longed to spend the rest of my days writing the definitive tome on Irish cooking delights. I was going to explore the seven hundred ways one could prepare corned beef and cabbage.”

“Funny, I was thinking of devoting my golden years to writing the History of Italian War heroes.—- Come on smart ass be serious.”

“First hobby was golf, but it did not take long to realize that it was too late. My aging body could not make a proper turn for a beautiful swing. I hacked around for a few years but finally accepted the inevitable.’

: “and what other pursuits?”

mostly languages, I speak Italian, and some German and French but wanted to upgrade my skills. What about you?”

“I wanted to discover a vaccine that would prevent adults from being infected by the liberal virus. Once the onset occurs rational thought ceases, and senility takes over all behavior.”

“sometimes I wonder why I even grace you with my presence. How the hell did you get through Med. School?”

“I picked out an upperclassman with an Italian name, and thought if he can make it there’s no problem for me.”

Do you have any cyanide capsules on you? I need immediate relief from your delusions?”

“In fact I feared the so called Golden years. My work meant everything to me, and it gave me such purpose. The day I stopped practicing medicine was the beginning of a minor depression.”

“Why did you leave the practice?”

“partially because I could not physically keep up with the schedule. Also because my eyesight began to fail me. I realize now that other opportunities were available, but I did not spend the time to explore them.Also I wanted to spend every waking moment with Arlene”

Is it too late now to find alternatives?”

What would I do old buddy? Like you I am a prisoner ofl imited eyesight, and creaky knees. The days of opportunity are gone. The train has left the station.”

maybe you could assist the nurse practitioner here.”

“Besides giving the Directress diarrhea, I don’t think the Board of Directors would be crazy about that possibility. Besides I am a surgeon not a gerontologist.”

“Sometimes I think you are not so dumb.”

Remember I am also a Doctor.’

“A Ph. D does not count. You are not a real Doctor.”

But I am a hell of an imitation. Would you like to explore your possibilities?’

“I would love to have something meaningful to do, but there is nothing available.’

Alright Doctor it’s time for role reversal. What would you tell me if I were in your shoes?”

With your fat feet I would advise you to go bare foot , or buy new shoes.”

“Why do I bother?”

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