We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Thank you for this. My mother died, not unexpectedly, at 88. My father, 83, died exactly a week later of a heart attack, despite having no cardiac issues, not even high blood pressure. After 62 years of marriage, he died of a broken heart.
My dad, too. He lasted 9 unhappy months without my mom. He tried to stay with us, but he missed her too much. Same thing. Devastating heart attack in a man who had never had an issue and took zero medication for anything. He did die of a broken heart.
Of course the men die after their wives do. Rare is the widow who dies in second position. In many instances the wife will continue on for years, many times she's more active as a widow than she was as an old married lady. Seen that pattern repeated at least six times in my own expanded family/social circle.
Men love romantically; women opportunistically, for many women, death of a spouse just presents another opportunity.
I can explain this a bit. (husband died in 2008 of pneumonia-37 year marriage). When someone dies, we think that they just lost that person. But that's not true. They lost their spouse AND the marriage. The marriage is like a third person, a combination of the two of you.
When you lose someone after a long marriage, the biggest hurt is that you no longer have anyone to share things with. You have to stop using "we". It all sounds so simple but it tears at the very fabric of how you define yourself. It's difficult for younger people to deal with, but the old as not as resilient. (And for the record, I made it through because of my friend, now fiance, who lost his wife of 21 years the day before my husband died. We had a lot in common and we helped each other get through it.)
When my father died, my mother seriously did not want to continue. Her circumstances were complicated by her having developed macular degeneration, which meant she had to leave the only real home they had had together. Genetics prevails (Granny had been a week short of 98 when she died, and a lot of the great-aunts lasted into their 90s): Mum lived over 21 years after Dad died, and was there to dance at two grandchildren's weddings. But the first few years: every time I mentioned an upcoming event involving grandchildren, Mum's response was "I won't be here to see it". Fortunately for us, she was. But I do know she thought of Dad every day of her life.