Wisdom//

Lucky Lady

Covid-19 brought me many challenges and surprises. Most importantly, a trip down the aisle at the age of 85!

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By Miriam Edelstein

Why am I a “lucky lady,” you might ask? Because in the twilight of my years, I found what everyone is looking for. I found someone who genuinely, with all his being, loves me. So I married him. I feel the same way. We both feel extremely lucky to have found each other.

Most people question why we even got married. Very few people our age (eighties) even bother. And it is a bother. You need a prenuptial agreement. Grown kids insist. You worry about health responsibilities (we both have long term insurance). Both Rabbi and lawyers bring up that subject. Then there is the question of where we will live? It is difficult disposing of a house and the accumulated memories (and detritus) of a lifetime. It is also difficult to get going. I need a “round tu-it”.

The next thing to talk about is the guts that made me do it because it takes guts. Life is so unpredictable and it takes courage to take that leap. After a divorce (marriage #1), that affected two families, after burying a husband (marriage #2), which also affected two families, although not as bitterly, it takes a “leap of faith” to do it again. Where did it come from? 

I received my courage for this “leap of faith” from Hadassah, the Jewish women’s Zionist organization which I have been a devoted member of for almost 60 years. I have had many jobs and many responsibilities. Now we are starting a new phase: monetizing. Briefly, it means charging for everything. We have to do that in order for Hadassah to meet its goals. I, personally, find it distasteful. It means shnorring on a grand scale. And yet it has to be done. To me, it is like a problematic marriage that you have to get used to. We shall overcome the obstacles, we must, and continue. Anything worth doing takes effort.

So now to the story. I have known my third husband, John since 1993. When John, was about to ask me for a date, I told him I was already committed to someone else. He was a gentleman and never brought up the subject again. I went on to marry husband #2. John ultimately met his partner and spent the next 20 years with her. We continued to be friends and saw each other socially, as a foursome, or more people.

 Almost two years ago she died, after a long illness. My 2nd husband, Gene, has been gone for 6 ½ years. He had also deteriorated physically over a long period.  It was only natural that John and I took up where we left off. The way it really happened is that I came to his wife’s funeral and shiva. Before leaving his house, I said he shouldn’t stay home and brood. I knew lots of ladies who would love to keep him company. John’s answer: “I don’t want any other ladies, I want you!” So that was it! A whirlwind courtship and for my birthday he presented me with an engagement ring. He said he didn’t want to make the same mistake and lose me again.   

On November 16th we got married. It was a real COVID-19 wedding, with 10 people present (a minyan) and close to a 100 on Zoom. The huppah was held up by chairs and tape (must observe social distancing). There were flowers in the shul and the Rabbi had wine from somewhere. Actually, it was lovely. Friends took pictures and everyone seemed joyful. During the ceremony, the Rabbi said to me, “John is a real mensch.”  To John, he said” She’s a real firecracker!”  I guess opposites attract.  The whole thing was written up in the Jewish Standard. When people ask why we went to the trouble, my answer is that it feels good to be married. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow it feels more permanent. It feels more committed.

Now I need to back up a little- a prequel, if you will.

When I met my first husband, Richard, we were both teenagers. Neither one of us had experienced life yet. We learned together. Unfortunately, we learned, each at a different pace. That is the kindest way I can put it, because he is just beginning to appreciate what it’s all about at age 89. He got involved with a greedy, self-centered woman and left. Actually, they were very well suited to each other; both self-centered. He was adventurous and intelligent, however. We had three lovely children. The last two items, I am not sorry about. At the time of our divorce, I was told that my chances of finding a fitting partner are smaller than my chances of being mugged. Well, I was lucky.

I met Gene and he was a gem! He could fix just about anything (a rarity among Jewish men). He was kind and thoughtful and had a great family. To this day, I consider his son as my own. His son, by the way, can also fix anything. The whole family still treats me as if I’m still a part of them. Recently, I received a card from his nephew. It was addressed to Aunt Miriam and Uncle John. I was very touched by that. And now I am John’s wife; lucky again. John, too, has a great family.  Between the three of them, I had one perfect husband! But life is not perfect, so I am glad I found perfect, true love last.

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