Since my mother died in April, I have received an enormous amount of help from my first wife and the mother of my four children, Jane. Through this, we have become friends again after 35 years. I still find her extremely attractive, but chastity is not a problem, since to lay a hand on her is much like touching a very fierce and muscular leopardess.
My mother remained fairly fit and incredibly mentally alert far into her 94th year, but the last two months of her life were dreadful. She had a fall, and although she escaped any real injury, her time in a district hospital caused a rapid and terminal deterioration in her condition. Mercifully, she died in a small local unit, in sight of her home.
I spent a lot of time visiting her and trying to advocate for better treatment, to no avail. By the time she died, I needed some recuperation, so I jumped at the offer from Jane to live in her house and sort out her belongings and the aftermath of her loss. As one of her executors, I thought I might have to pay many visits to my old home, which is an hour and a half's journey from my present one. In the event, I have been able to do all the probate stuff by letter and phone; Jane has handled all the rest, cleared up and disposed of the excess items, made friends and condoled with her neighbours, and generally made life very easy for me.
My parents divorced in South Africa in the mid-1950s. It had become fairly common there, but returning to the British Isles I found myself the only lad from a single parent household in my class, except for my close friend Barry Stevens, living at the home of his grandmother through his school years. I managed to remain in good contact by letters to my father, and the intellectual content of his correspondence stimulated my academic interests. My parents, still in love I am sure, never stopped exchanging letters.
Jane lived in the same street, and like me had just arrived from the Empire - her father, the nicest of men, had taken Holy Orders after retiring from the colonial police. I shocked everyone by marrying her when I had not yet graduated from Oxford.
It is really nice to be spending some time in her company again. Divorce is far more prevalent these days, and I hope that our handling of the consequences for our children has been a bit better than my parents'. Perhaps each generation can improve on the previous one in managing it. The couple can certainly go on helping each other, even if living together does not prove possible.