Here is the full story of Finn, all under one easily retrieved title. Everything I know about him.
The story begins 25 years ago when I was still seriously working at ICI-Americas, then add about ten years before that, based on where I was in my career. Our company had an Assistant Librarian, Carole, that everyone loved. She was about 50, very pretty, and was a pleasant, thoroughly likable person. Many people used the company library just to see her and rejuvenate in her charm. No one made any off-color jokes about her; she was too . . . too . . . nice. She was a widow and all alone, so we were pleased when she met Finn, a widower, at Parents Without Partners.
We all called him “Finn,” but he was really Danish. He was a handsome man, fit, with a full head of white hair, and was a nice guy that everyone also instantly liked. He had an accent that sounded exactly like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. Close your eyes, and you would think you were talking with Arnold, himself. Finn was a true renaissance man: he was an expert skier and played an instrument in the Delaware Symphony. They had big plans of marrying and traveling the world together. A match made in Heaven, we all thought.
Then, my duties changed, my new job was at a different location, and I saw no more of either of them until about five years ago when he started coming to my senior center. I never really knew him, but we greeted each other and chatted almost every day in the locker room. He was 85. He warned me about using too much soap and how to cut back; I told him about hearing aids at Costco.
Finally, I asked him how Carole was doing.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I haven’t seen her for years. Soon after we married, she developed Alzheimer’s. She eventually moved back with her family in Indiana, and probably wouldn’t even remember me anymore. When you marry late, you have no common memories to fall back on: no memories of early jobs, early apartments, old friends, raising children, and such.”
I was shocked. You never know what life has in store. I vowed then never to remarry. Remarriage is too risky at my age. (I’ll just fool around, instead.)
But there’s more. A couple of years ago, he committed suicide.
He seemed in good health, but never wanted to burden anyone. In anticipation years ago, he asked his doctor for some pills that would do him in when the time came. He must have felt the life he had remaining would bring more bad than good, so he picked a warm, sunny, spring morning, set up a lawn chair on the grass, swallowed a handful of the pills, and waited in the chair. Waited, and waited. Nothing happened, so he went back in the house where he had a gun, and blew his head off. The doctor had either given him placebos (likely), or the pills had lost their potency over the years.
End of Finn, end of story. I defend his right to chose, but perhaps I could have helped him see his life differently, somehow. He was concerned about his loss of hearing, but my hearing is shot, too, and it can be a blessing. However, I never played in a symphony orchestra.
Second lesson learned: You never know what even friends may be thinking.