Grief and Isolation

When I walked my dog in my old neighborhood, I would continually come across a young couple standing in front of a brownstone, good weather and bad, smoking up a storm, one of them doing so even if the other were absent. When together, they were in animated conversation, or looking into one another’s eyes, or just intruding into one another’s space, and so, as anyone else would, I thought them to be lovers who could not for one reason or another go inside, and it is always heartwarming to see young lovers. But I was also tempted to go up to them and say to them that they should stop smoking for one another’s sake so that they did not have to face my fate which was to be made a widower after forty-eight years of marriage because my wife had been a heavy smoker for fifty years even though she and I and all her friends had made the effort to get her to stop smoking. In the early years of our marriage I had even gotten her to try a woman’s pipe, which was a small and pastel colored thing to make it seem feminine, and was something of a fad at the time, but that hadn’t worked, and so by the time she died of lung cancer her only hope had become, as she said, that she would beat the odds. Nobody’s fault that she was dying; only a hope of rescue unfulfilled. But I never did intrude on the couple’s time or space. It was not that I am timid about expressing my opinions. It is rather that you respect the choices people make, however foolish they are, and also so as not to too much blame the addiction prone for their cravings.

Read More