I recently learned that my sister's husband died. I read his obituary in the newspaper from where they live.
I remember, in a drug-fogged memory and from family stories, the first time I met him.
My first husband died in a car accident when I was 20. My mom and brother came to the hospital and, after settling my injured child in a different hospital, took me home to Mom's to deal with the minutae entailed in a funeral.
I was on pain meds for some minor injuries, mainly road rash, and on valium for superglue.
My sister, Mary, the oldest in the family, flew home from wherever it was she had been vacationing. She brought her boyfriend with her. It seems a funny word to use, boyfriend. Mary is 13 years older than I am and Tom was 16 or 17 years older than she. I had never met him before and, if recollection serves, neither had the rest of the family.
Mary had brought with her some suitable funeral dresses for me to try on. I was a 20 year old new mom and lived mostly in levis and t-shirts. The few dresses I did have were not only not black, but were much too short to be suitable for a young widow. These things did matter then.
I remember trying on dress after dress. I would put one on with Mary's help, trying to be careful not to a) hurt me and b) get salve on her clothes! I would walk into the living room and Tom, sitting on the sofa, would look at me, look at Mary and shake his head. We did this little pas-de-trois 3 or 4 times.
Finally, I put on a grey and cream dress with matching coat and Tom finally nodded. I heard later that he told Mary that if I had come out looking as horrible as I had in the first few dresses one more time, he was personally going to take me shopping.
4 years later, Mary and Tom were married.
32 years later, may he rest in peace and may God have mercy on his soul. I am glad that Mary, on whom we all leaned for so many things, had Tom on whom to lean.