A few days ago an old friend of mine named Emma sent me a message saying "Alcurtis passed away. His obituary is on the Sac Bee web site." I was not shocked by the news since I knew Al was sick, but I felt a sadness in his loss for my friend. Alcurtis and Emma were married long before I knew them, but Emma separated and divorced Al after his diagnosis with type 2 diabetes. One may think her action harsh, but I think there was no other alternative given the circumstances. I know Emma loved Al dearly but did not want to watch his daily failure to follow through with diabetes treatment. Al intermittently or refused to take medications and ate what he wanted in a reckless manner. He was in reality slowly killing himself. It would be torture to watch someone you love self destruct in such a material way, so I can not blame her or find fault with leaving him.
She told me that after Al had died it took 8 days until the family went to find him at his home. Early on, after the first "he's missing" phone call from Al's relatives, Emma knew what had happened, but no one believed her. Even though his relatives were aware of his medical condition they did not want to admit the most likely alternative, thus the delay in finding him.
Emma was the last one to see Al before he was cremated. She said she got to touch his head and feel his hair one last time. It was just a little gesture but powerful in emotion and true feeling. As she was telling me these words, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes since at that moment I knew how much Al's passing hurt her, but that she could finally let go of him now. Leaving Al was probably harder then staying with him in many regards, but the only way Emma could save herself from the daily misery of watching his physical and mental decline.
It is hard to walk away from something that is comfortable and familiar, whether it be a relationship, friendship, job, or hobby, but there are occasions when separation is necessary in order to keep what you are sane and healthy. I am proud of Emma for preserving her self, but equally moved by her steadfast attachment and love for the Al that exisisted before he became ill. She took the hard road to remain true to herself since she knew Al would not be influenced to care for himself even with her there as his wife. May we all have the strength to be able to make the right decision when adversity comes our way as Emma did. I hope Al is at peace too.