Six of these men returned to work almost immediately.Several reported that though they made an effort to be functional in their jobs, much time was spent thinking about their spouse.Later, when I shoo the boys toward bed at the beach house, Pete is already starting to clean up after dinner.This routine was always quintessentially marital for me. How to write a condolence note, and my sister’s apartment makeover.
We’re not the odd couple, exactly, but definitely odd as a couple. He’s fit, rides a motorcycle and can fix or build anything. I worried it would make for a tricky in-law situation, but it turned out having them close by was as much of a boon for me as it was for Nina.Pete and I fumble through it, not fully synchronous, but still enough in rhythm. Widowers' membership in their established religions was instrumental in the widowers' coping with their wives' deaths.Pete and Jan were there for all of it — from the birth of our oldest son, Freddy, which was attended with the normal mix of joy and neurosis, then Benny, who was born so quickly I almost didn’t have time to eat the sandwich I bought en route to the hospital (and Nina’s fruit salad was still cold when she ate it postpartum); for the minivan identity crisis; for the purchase of our rambling old bungalow.
Pete had always connected with others by fixing or building things with his hands.
But after Jan died, his tool kit expanded: He kept tabs on Nina’s oncology appointments and chemo treatments, took care of the boys whenever we had to be at the cancer center, learned to manage Freddy’s blood sugar and insulin dosing for dinners (and overnights when we were late) and remembered important details about Nina’s articles and, later on, the memoir she wrote.