My uncle and aunt had close friends, F and D, who vacationed with them and went out with them all the time. F was also the receptionist at my uncle’s accounting firm. The two couples were thick as thieves.
F and D were a good-looking couple and had a fantastic marriage. They didn’t have children. But when D died in his early seventies, F went into a tailspin. She began turning down all my uncle and aunt’s invitations to join them…anywhere. That was understandable for a while, after she lost the love of her life, but it went on and on and on.
She didn’t even come to the party for my uncle and aunt’s 60th wedding anniversary. They rationalized that she didn’t want to let her sadness spoil anyone else’s time, but I said “hogwash! She’s selfish,” especially since D died years before. My cousins agreed. It was sad F couldn’t remove her permanent veil of grief for an evening to share in the joy of dear friends.
I admire great marriages and understand how it must feel when your soulmate dies. But if we let our pain overtake us, aren’t we negating the joy we once had and the joy we can still have and share?
F came to my aunt’s funeral and accepted my uncle’s invitation to join him for dinners and the movies during the next few years. When she came to his funeral, she stood away from everyone.