What Makes a Good Wife
When her husband got sick, this writer could no longer be the reluctant caregiver
My brother and I, both home for a summer visit, drove to pick up my grandmother at the airport. As usual, she'd made a lifelong pal on her flight, a stranger who hugged us in the waiting area and said, "Your grandmother is the most amazing person." The woman was traveling to meet a man she'd fallen in love with online but had never physically met. My grandmother had spent the flight coaching this new friend through her worry, spinning out for her the possible scenarios she'd encounter and how to deal with each of them. (She was eventually invited to the wedding.)
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Witnessing this stranger's gratitude, I was proud, but later that evening, my brother remarked, "It must have been very hard to grow up with a mother like that." This shocked me. Our mother worshipped our grandmother. She was, by all accounts, the most fun, vivacious, kindhearted person in all of Door County, Wisconsin, the Gandhi of the Great Lakes Peninsulas. She'd been a homemaker but was beloved by many more people than just her family. Regardless, I did not press my brother to explain at the time. I've never pressed him. I think I now know what he might have meant.
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