My maternal grandmother suffered a heart attack when she was in her seventies, so my mom went to be with her. My dad would have to fend for himself for one or two nights, which was somewhat of a problem since he: a.) Would be lonely b.) Couldn’t boil water c.) Probably wouldn’t be able to sleep without my mother next to him.
At the time, I was married, in my twenties and lived in Manhattan. My parents lived in Queens, which was an hour train ride away. I knew what I had to do: Visit dad after work to prepare dinner for him and keep him company for an hour or two. Here I am, forty years later, and I can remember that evening like it was yesterday. I was doing a good deed for my mom, but it was crazy! She was guilty leaving him; he was a baby, and I was a dutiful daughter. It would take Sigmund a lifetime to figure out what that was all about.
It doesn’t matter that it’s now 2010. Some men and women today are just like my mom and dad were decades ago. I don’t know who is worse off, the man who can’t be without his mate, or the woman who worries that her man will fall apart if she leaves for a few days. Some women I know refuse to leave their husbands to enjoy time on their own.