I have bad news. My wife Judy died this morning. She had been living for the past year and a half in Arden Courts in Farmington, the next town over, a facility designed solely for patients with memory impairment issues. She was diagnosed with dementia two years before that, and her condition, while stable for long periods of time, gradually grew worse as time went on.
I met her in Ann Arbor when we were both grad students in mathematics at the University of Michigan. She was born and grew up in New York City, I in a small town in northern Michigan, but somehow our paths in life converged at the right place at the right time. Our desks in the teaching fellows’ office were opposite each other. How lucky was that for two people who were meant for each other?
Our first date was 52 years ago tomorrow, and you would never guess that it was at a hockey match. Michigan was playing Michigan Tech, where I went to undergraduate school, and the final score was 5 to 5. I didn’t really remember the score. I had to look it up online. I have often wondered what she saw in me to say yes when I asked if she’d like to go. She’d never been to a hockey game before in her life. (I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t seem to recall that we ever went to another one.) She must seen something in me that I saw similarly in her. As far as I was concerned, it was love at first sight.
If we never went to another hockey match — it was the end of the season — we did go to movies and other dates together, more and more often that summer of 1964, and as things progressed, we ended up getting married in December later that year.
Eventually we moved to Connecticut, where I started teaching at Central Connecticut State — that was in 1969 — while she found a position the following year at the West Hartford branch of the University of Connecticut.
Two children came along, Sarah, a research librarian who lives in Illinois, and Jonathan, who has been splitting his time as a writer between here and Los Angeles the past few years. He is here with me now.
There is a lot more to the story, of course. Memories of our life together, 52 years’ worth, have been coming back to me all the while she has been ill. We loved each other for a long time, and I will never forget her. My life would not have been complete without her.