The great thing about Susan was that she loved him no matter what. He sometimes didn’t treat her as he should have (who knows? moods, personal problems, and so forth), and even when they were apart for periods of times over the years, as when he rented a cabin in northern New Hampshire after the death of his son and lived there alone for many months, they’d talk on the phone every day and she was understanding and continued to stick by him (she flew up to Boston one holiday weekend and he picked her up at the airport and they drove three hours to the cabin).
And she never cared what he looked like, always accepted him as he was. She got him through all the bad times — hell, before Susan, he had a girlfriend in California who got so mad at him or sick of him she threw his suitcase off the balcony of her sixth floor apartment — it busted wide open when it hit the ground, clothes went flying; another girlfriend before Susan (also called Susan and from Detroit) broke up with him on a bitterly cold New Years Eve outside Bloomingdales department store; and so on and so forth. But not Susan, never Susan. The foundation of their relationship was built on rock, unlike the relationship with the California girl that was built on sand, and the relationship with the other Susan that was built on quicksand.
His one consolation after Susan died was that he looked after her during the last few years. She went through hell, four long stays in hospitals and nursing homes. He would help her shower, walk, many other things to do with day-to-day living, and be was a good caregiver, like his brother was to his own wife for several years when she came close to death a couple of times.
A few weeks before Susan was taken to hospital for the last time she said to him, I am so lucky to have you look after me, you’ve been good to me. And he said, And I’ll do it for the rest of my life.
At the end when she was on life support, he held her still-warm hand in his and talked to her about the good times, their visit to Australia and Paris and Prague and many other things and it’s possible, he was told, that she could hear him, and then her hand fell from his… the nurse removed the breathing tube…
It’s been a bad day, like all the days since she died, and now he goes to bed after several beers, rum, wine, brandy, and finally Xanax.