The Next Wife
For many of us, this is a topic that almost matches the angst of thinking about leaving our children motherless. It is a bit different as the intense feelings usually include a healthy dose of jealousy and anger along with the grief. It surely is something that all of us, married or partnered or in love, have thought about. One of life's realities seems to be that most men remarry, and sometimes very quickly, and many women never do. We all speculate about the reasons for that--none of which are too flattering to the men.
When Barbara sent me this essay from Slate, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to read it, let alone share it with you. I do, however, trust her judgment, so I read it a few days later, and it is wonderful. Yes, of course the sadness is there, but this second wife is the one we would all select if we could.
Here is the start and link. Find a tissue and then read it:
My Husband’s Other Wife
by Emily Yoffe
Shortly after my husband John and I were married, on a day he was at work and I was home moving my things into his house, I opened a cardboard box in the attic. It was filled with photos of his other married life, the one he’d had with his first wife, Robin Goldstein. She was 28 when they got married, and six months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband was nursing her at home when she died just after her 34th birthday. The box contained wedding photos, honeymoon photos, and random snapshots of parties and birthdays. As I excavated, I could chart her illness by her hair—a cycle of dark waves, then wigs and scarves. After I’d looked at them all, I closed the box and cried for her, and for my guilty awareness that her death allowed me, five years later, to marry the man I loved.
When our daughter was born, one of the sweetest gifts we got was a tiny chair with her name painted on the back. It was from the Goldstein family. How final it must have felt to them to send this acknowledgement of John’s new life. Robin had wanted children, but her long illness and the brutal treatments made that impossible.