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19 January 2013

Got the usual Christmas cards away in December and got the usual bunch back. And looking at one of them it occurred to me that in some areas I can be startlingly conservative. I’m not used to thinking of myself that way, and in most ways I’m not, but in this thing I am. One of the cards went to an old acquaintance. Originally he was married to someone I liked, a pleasant, intelligent woman who died some years back now. Originally my cards were always addressed to them both by name, but since her death I address them to him by name and add ‘and family’. Why, when he has remarried, don’t I include or use her name? Once I’d thought seriously about that I realised that it’s because I was never happy about the speed of his new relationship. He and his wife had been very happily married for several decades. But within what seemed to be only six months of her death, there he was with another woman. It made me vaguely uncomfortable, as if the many years of devotion had been a sham, as if his wife whom I’d liked had been cheated in some way. If he’d loved her so long and as much as he apparently had, then how could he forget her so quickly? It’s possible that if you have a very happy, very long relationship, then when you lose that you may want to find another as quickly as possible. But it still seems wrong to me, and I’m uncomfortable using his new partner’s name in place of his first wife’s. In fact it occurs to me too, that it was his wife I really liked and her to whom I sent the card. So maybe next year I just won’t send one and that’ll fix everything for me. But I’m not sure of it’s my getting older, or if feeling this way about the situation is reasonable, or maybe I really am getting more conservative as I age and if so, thinking about it, that bothers me too.


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