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"When the Ride Stops, It's Where It Started"



The Chicago Tribune recently featured an article by Richard Asa about being "young" and trying to re-enter the dating scene after the death of a partner/spouse. I put "young" in quotation marks because the author would seem to define it as someone in their 20s and 30s. Apparently, 40-somethings on up are placed into some sort of  "it gets better" category for loss. Here's a salient excerpt from the article:
It's not that the grief is less for older widows and widowers, but most of them have decades of fond memories. People widowed at a younger age are looking at a blank slate where future plans once existed. It can change you.
I sometimes wonder if the supposition is correct, that older folks are better able to adapt to the loss of a spouse/partner, than their younger counterparts. Sometimes, the longer you're in a relationship, the more used to a life shared with someone, is the more wrenching it is to lose that person. I will also take this moment to make an admittedly stereotypical generalization, which is that women seem to take loss better than men. There could be all sorts of reasons for this. That's a topic for another day.

I remember my late, great paternal grandmother Callie Mae. She married my grandfather, Oscar, in 1926 (the family will correct me if I have the year wrong). Oscar passed away in 1961, making them married roughly 35 years. In the average life of a human being, that's a fairly long time (it certainly was for Oscar). But my grandmother lived to be just one week shy of 101, which means that almost 66 years of her life were spent without a husband (she never remarried). When you look at it in that context, the necessity of a spouse/partner in one's life takes on a different light.

What I think is clear is that the loss of a life partner is devastating at any age, and requires a major adjustment for the person left behind. I'm not sure it is fair or accurate to assume that it's easier for one age group than another. Whenever such an event happens, life for those remaining person is altered forever. Of that, there is no doubt.



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