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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Shalom Auslander

I have been the shuffling woman now for a couple of years. Beyond “sad” it is overwhelmingly strange. What you write, Shalom, never fails to keep me company in the strange. This is particularly spot-on. Thank you.

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This is absolutely beautiful and absolutely true. Stories like this one are being lived every day. They don't make the news, but they are the important stories.

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by Shalom Auslander

I think that when you are old, younger people figure that you are....old. Old in your brain, in your heart, in your being. Younger people don't see that you are still you. Inside your head, you are still a full person, not just the accumulation of your lifetime. You are still here, every day. Fully. So, yes, this elderly couple had a long life together. That's a beautiful thing. But now he is dead, which is sad, which is why, I think, the wife cried. Even if she lives only one more day, she will live it feeling the sadness of being without her love. Yes, she will (most likely) also know she was lucky to have had him, will know it's a beautiful thing, all of those years together, sharing a life. But I think it's being patronizing to the old to say, "look, at those two, they lived together a long time and so this isn't a sad thing. Old people die, let's accept it. It's so wonderful all those years together." Old people have the same feelings as the young--sadness, among them. And to see her alone now, for however much longer she has on this earth--it's sad that she is alone. I feel sad for her. Not happy. I hope she is surrounded by people who love her so she doesn't feel so terribly bereft and alone.

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Irene Zion

My Victor and I have been married 53 1/2 years.

If you don’t forget your time may be cut short, every minute counts.

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I am gratified that someone else besides me thinks this way. Also grateful that you write so beautifully, both in this vein and in others.

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As perfect as a coffeeshop gets.

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Ah, I’ll be the shuffling woman soon, except my husband is only 39, and we’ve been together 15 years. I was recently thinking about what a promise of “forever” really means on a human timescale and wrote this : https://open.substack.com/pub/bessstillman/p/forever-is-short-long-time?r=16l8ek&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

We were also coffee shop fixtures once. Tragedy is only tragedy if something beautiful came first.

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One day, it most of been sometime in the 80s, I was seated in a cafe with my parents when an elderly couple entered. The woman leaned towards her husband and asked "are you still there?" Such a heartfelt, poignant question, fourtysome years later I still remember.

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Refreshing perspective, Shalom. We should reflect on the long string of good instead of the one dead stop of bad.

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I think the reality is that when you love someone deeply and for such a long time, the love is indeed beautiful, but the loss of that love is also heartbreaking to the one left behind. I don't think you can have one without the other. Love, eventually, means loss.

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This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Thank you.

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This very well written. I have just been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. Anne and I have been together for 34 years. One day soon I probably will no longer know her but still be present. That will be sad for her.

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I’m still alive. I lost a love while young and I have looked death in the eyes more than once in this life, but awakening after a trauma and not being with your beloved is a disappointment beyond comprehension. What no one knows, what religion and culture try to tell us about loss and our degrees of acceptance can’t explain what life on Earth is for. Here we are, creating lives that will end, and grieving our losses that are inevitable. The lucky ones are those who get plucked off the planet to explore the thereafter.

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Love story. They were lucky.

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We are now in our 70’s. We have been in the same small circle of friends for 50+ years and consider all of us a family. We are losing our friends/family at a more rapid pace than anticipated. Unlike the old days (50’s, 60’s, 70’s), when a woman lost her spouse, she was shunned. I saw this with my mother in law and my mother. Those women were homemakers and didn’t get out in the world. Their husband’s circle was their wives circle and those lucky wives who still had a husband protected them from those attractive widows. We learned a lesson. Our generation of women were in the workforce, made friends outside of the husband’s. We now, unfortunately, have a phrase among my ever dwindling group of friends/family, it’s “Don’t forget the widders”, spelled as we say it. My husband is as good of friend with my widowed sisters as I am, and I am grateful. I know if something happens to him, I will have that friend/family member 100% there to watch my back.

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Great read straight on thru.

My take:

Only Love Prevails.

I can’t bring them back again

Those moments I hold fast in memory

Dear ones dancing in my dreams

Still reaching out to me

When Spring has come and gone again

And brilliant Summer pales

And Fall sets sail in frosty winds

Only love prevails

No, I can’t change the flow of time

Tho sometimes I’ve wished that I could

But my heart shall bind up all loose ends

And keep them mine for good

So let us recall some old songs

And sing them out around the fire

And hail once more our loved ones before

The hour that we retire

When Spring has come and gone again

And brilliant Summer pales

And Fall sets sail in frosty winds

Only love prevails

Malcolm McKinney 2006

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