Men Who Can’t Live Without Their Wives

I personally knew two men who couldn’t live without their wives. I’ll call them Fred and Max, respectively. I’ll start with Fred. He made it to a ripe old age. His wife was younger than him when she died. He knew no other woman and had been married for more than 70 years. When she died his whole world changed. Up until that time he had lived a happy but limited and isolated life. He and his wife kept largely to themselves. Fred’s health was exceptional until his wife died. He grew his own food and believed that doctors were dangerous to longevity. They raised two sons, and they had eight grandchildren.

When Fred’s wife died, he didn’t tell anyone right away. He cleaned and dressed his wife, did her hair, and kept her laying on the bed for a day or so before he called his adult children. I guess he wanted to spend a little time alone with her before she left. After the funeral, he sat on his couch and refused to sleep in their bed. This refusal remained in place until he died. He told his children that he was going to sit on his couch for as long as it took his wife to come for him. Slowly over a year and a half his health deteriorated. He never consulted a doctor.

One of his son’s came to the house to help bath him and feed him. He died on that couch. He was 96 years old. Fred had one wish in life. To live peacefully with his wife apart from other people. This was largely accomplished. He gave little or nothing to anyone outside of his immediate family. He was a simple man who lead a simple life. His most valued possession was his love for his wife. When she left him he could not sustain himself. It took 18 months for the life in him to leave his body. The most remarkable thing about Fred is the extent to which he remain attached to his convictions. When the going got rough, Fred remained true to his goals however limited. He never wavered. For that alone I give Fred my enduring respect.

Max obtained an advanced degree in a profession that dealt with the welfare of people. He suffered a difficult childhood filled with the absence of respect for his individual desires and needs. He eventually rebelled and found a wife whom he loved deeply but was unable to have any children with. The absence of children encouraged him to work harder and longer than he otherwise would have. As a result of this, he developed great wisdom and position in his profession. People traveled far and wide to study with Max. His only problem was the esoteric nature of his knowledge and the impatience he had at times with the difficulty other people had understanding him. When his wife died, he became enraged first at God, then at himself. It took 3 years for Max to give up on life.

Max continued to work after his wife died.  At times other people who studied with him became aware of his difficulty accepting his fate. His emotional pain and struggle accepting the loss of his wife became the cause of strange physical symptoms during this period preceding his own death. Max lost his will to live and his body responded with illness. For those who knew him well, it was difficult to accept his loss of will to live since he had so much to offer others. Max was in his middle 70s and in good health just prior to the death of his wife. I found myself on several occasions trying to convince Max of the value of life and the needs of others for his knowledge, without success. He stayed convinced that there was nothing to give or to get in the world now that his wife was gone.

The traumas we endure in life are responsible for our greatest suffering as well as our most developed characteristics. In my opinion, people like Max should not fall victim to the loss of just a single love. They are too important to us all. Like Fred, Max and his wife were together for many years. His wisdom, knowledge of love, and education combined made it possible, had he wanted it, for Max to take a position as one of the great teachers of mankind. Making sure that he touched as many human beings as possible before leaving. I know technically he had the right to leave us whenever he saw fit to leave. Personally, I thought it was a little selfish and shortsighted. Dr. T. Jordan













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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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