Life after Death
One of the great tragedies of everyday life is the death of a long time spouse. Many couples spend nearly all their adult life together. Then in old age one dies, say aged 70-75. The other may live for another twenty years.
Vivien and I have become great fans of Kent “Plainsong” Haruf. His last book before he died aged 71 two years ago, “Our Souls at Night”, dives headlong into this subject. The courage, hesitancy and difficulties of any new relationship are well rehearsed. Without sex it is the need for companionship and intimacy which drives the two oldies into not quite each others arms.
Once again Haruf with his clear eyed, no nonsense, Mid West view shows us the joys of decent folk living decent lives. But of course even in Mid West cornfields serpents wait their chance.
Adult children hate the idea of their parents having sex especially with someone else. They may also feel their inheritance is threatened. This is as true in fiction as real life. Old friends are conservative they do not like change. So for a couple of oldies to take the plunge especially in a small town requires a bravery. It also requires a realisation that there is life after death.
Vivien’s father and my step father lived ten plus years after the death of their wives. Thinking of them in this light, Mike was too conservative and Hans really too old to contemplate a new intimacy. It maybe that for a variety of historical reasons they didn’t do intimacy. Though what might have happened if an old friend had knocked and suggested coming round one night to hold hands and talk. Its a shame but for them there was acceptance that life at best was reduced after death. I hope Vivien or I are braver. Haruf left a wife I wonder if she is two year’s later holding someone’s hand