‘An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick.’ — W.B. Yeats
An elderly man lives alone in a bungalow in Upstate New York.
An old friend halfway across the world sends him an email, acknowledging the elderly man’s wife’s birthday in two days. His wife died four days before Christmas of a brain hemorrhage. They had been together for thirty-four years. The elderly man has no surviving immediate family. His wife was his whole life.
The old friend ends the email with this one word: grim.
The elderly man (feeling. — shame on him! — particularly sorry for himself that day) replies:
I am aware. And on that day, just like every other day, I will be alone in this hovel subsisting (i.e. at near poverty level) without her. No one will phone (not one phone call from anyone in my so-called ‘extended family’ in weeks), and certainly no one will ‘drop in’ since I have no friends. My wife was my whole life. I will sit in a chair in a room outside the ‘dead’ room with this image of her siting in her armchair in the once-upon-a-time living room: