November 2016: Getting On

One of the pleasures of a long marriage is being able to trade symptoms of physical and mental deterioration. I can recount an extraordinary memory lapse when I failed to recognise someone who, apparently, I knew pretty well; my husband can instantly trump it with an amnesiac episode of his own.

It must be difficult for those men with much younger wives. They must know that every time they wish to mention rheumatism or blood pressure or possible dementia, the air becomes febrile with panic and fear and possible regret.

Health conversations should be held only with long-term partners or very old friends. I would definitely not burden my children with them. You have to be at least 50 to find such things interesting. My mother – like my father-in-law – was a stoic. My father was a hypochondriac and also the most dynamic 66-year-old I’ve ever known. He never reached 67. He died after a car accident that was not his fault. My mother-in-law was a joyous spirit who more or less lost her mind after her husband’s death.

So, my husband and I continue with our latest updates on the ailment front while grateful that today at least we can still enjoy the music of Leonard Cohen. We will raise a glass to him tonight.

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