by Anne Roiphe


After 39 years of marriage, her husband, Herman-“H”- collapsed suddenly and died in the lobby of their apartment building.

We had talked about this. He was born 12 years before I was. He was in good health and good mind but the possibility of widowhood haunted me. He said that it would be a compliment to our marriage, to his love for me and mine for him, if I managed this widowhood well and was able to enjoy my life with another partner or without. He expected that of me. He told me a dozen times in the last few years that I had made him happy. This was comforting but not comforting enough. The ash was still in my mouth. The log remained in my stomach. I considered that he had asked too much of me.

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