Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Husband With Two Wives

Emily Yoffe, who writes for Slate as the advice columnist Prudence, has an article in XX about her husband's first wife. She died of cancer before they met and married, and although Yoffe never met her, she has a special place in their family:

Maybe when my husband and I get old, memories of his life with Robin will become even more vivid than our years together. If so, I hope I’ll welcome those memories. I’m grateful to Robin, not jealous (even if she left it to me to convince our joint husband that the laundry hamper was invented for a reason). I only knew my husband for four months before we got married. But I heard from others how protective, tender, and devoted he was to her. Because of their relationship, I knew that this was a man who could be trusted, who stayed, for better or worse. I also knew that it’s possible to have more than one love of your life. I am the love of his, and so was she.


I am sarcastic and occasionally (sometimes? often?) harsh. Robin wasn’t—I know because I asked, not because John holds her over me or compares us—and he would have had a gentler life had she lived. I try to remind myself that I owe it to her to do as good a job of taking care of him as she would have. I will catch myself about to say sentences that begin “How many times have I ...” or “Weren’t you listening when ...”, and stop thinking that if he were still married to Robin, he wouldn’t have to hear this.

It is a touching, if wrenching personal memoir. Read it all, for it is good.

1 comment:

larry said...


thank for this link - what a moving piece.