by Susan Schnur

Bob & Arline & Norm & Alyce

Norm Sussman, 69, and Alyce Heman, 62, met in the corridors of Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, while each of their spouses was terminally ill. The two had a nodding acquaintance with one another from years of a mutual friend’s Yom Kippur break-the-fasts, but they had never actually spoken. Over the course of two years on hospital watch, however, Norm established a routine that included Alyce’s husband, Bob. If Arline (Norm’s wife) was asleep or away from her room for medical tests, Norm would pad down the hall and sit with Bob. And if Alyce arrived while Norm was in Bob’s room (Alyce is a grade-school teacher and would come to the hospital after her school day, at 3:30), Norm would excuse himself and loll back up the hall to Arline. In this way, time passed.

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Only Connect

The articles in this special section:

Bob & Arline & Norm & Alyce

by Susan Schnur

A widow and widower (grieving separately but in parallel) are surprised by joy in finding each other.

Recovering Memory

by Eva Metzger Brown

A psychologist goes across one ocean and 55 years to pick up a little girl—herself—stranded on a curb.