Several years ago I took a long walk with my future husband while we planned our life together: how to finish school, where we would live, jobs etc. I’m sure we mentioned our parents in that discussion but didn’t worry about their approval (we already had it) and we certainly didn’t consider the effect that our marriage, every marriage, would have on our extended family and network of friends. We were young and in love!
A few weeks ago, my dad went on a similar walk with his secretary of twenty years as they planned their future life together: she would quit her job, they’d move into her house, everything would be wonderful– they were in love!
But when my dad gathered my siblings and I around to tell his news– “This is one of the happiest day of my lives!”– we exploded. Mom had been gone for just four months; we didn’t even have a headstone on her grave.