My mother was only 66 when my dad died. She never left his side the last six months of his life. He had been in the final stages of melanoma, with a colostomy, which added another layer of difficulty to her role.
After she lost the man she had been with for over four decades, my mother started a new life. She moved from a modest home in the suburbs to an even more modest apartment in Manhattan. She had to learn how to budget, something she’d never done. She even began dating.
Mom met Morris at the 60 Plus program at the Y. She seemed to enjoy his company. They went to restaurants and movies and to Shakespeare classes. But whenever I asked her how she felt about Morris, mom would brush my query off with, “He’s just a friend.”
Finally, the facts emerged. Morris wasn’t entirely healthy and my mother had no intention of ever again playing nursemaid to another man. “Your father was enough,” I remember her saying on more than one occasion.
I was 41 and didn’t quite understand mom’s attitude, but I certainly get it now. She didn’t want to pick up where she left off, especially with a man she only knew for a few months. She’d rather live alone than resume her health care duties, she explained. She had a nice time with Morris, but that’s where it stopped.