At the other end of the table my aunt, the matriarch-in-situ, is frail-looking. She has dropped 50 pounds in the last year caring for her older husband at home. Private long-term care insurance will provide nursing home care for him, but there is a limit on the total number of months. Since there is no telling in advance how long it will be needed, she waits until she can no longer care for him herself. (Having an older husband myself, I pursue my own dreams and adventures now, knowing it is likely I will be the one caring for him before long.)
Three days before Christmas this year, a friend’s husband died suddenly. Whatever plans they made were dashed instantly and forever. It was my mother’s experience with her husband, my step-father, and one I feared for years in my own marriage. What plans can we make when life has a will of its own?
But my cousin’s question persists in my mind. May the new year bring something Christmas can’t provide. Some clarity.