Ann McKenna Fromm

WRITER:  Books, Essays, Ghostwriting

She Needs a Man

March 27, 2017

She Needs a Man

After I got engaged for the third time, a friend said to me, “You’re the sort of person who needs a man.”

Really?   Is that true about me?

Well, yes it is. It’s true about everyone. For one thing, you feel a different kind of loneliness after a spouse dies. You simply can’t understand it if you haven’t been there. As poet Gerard Manley Hopkins said, “No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief….”

For another thing, loneliness kills. According to a NYT article, “As a predictor of early death, loneliness eclipses obesity.”

And loneliness hurts. As Emily Dickenson said, it is “the Horror not to be surveyed.”

It’s a social horror too. A widower friend of mine lay on the floor for three days with a broken hip. Finally, sheer survival instinct drove him, inch by inch, toward a phone he could reach.

In a way, the same survival instinct drove Bill’s father to marry again after 64 good years with his late wife. Loneliness kills. So Ted Payne is happy now! Outsiders look at older people and think, “They need companionship.” Well, definitely. Yet I knew another older man, named Leo, who also re-married after his wife’s death. Of his new bride he cried, “They don’t believe it — but we really love each other!”

In prison, solitary confinement drives men insane. Mice, when isolated, show neurological signs of anguish. As a category, single men die sooner than married men. It’s the human condition to be with other people. So yes – I guess you could say I needed a man. But I needed women too, and all the couples who included me in their lives. Most of all, I needed people, people to talk to every day. The loneliness of a widow or widower is so different from ordinary loneliness.   I wanted — wanted, wanted, wanted — people, someone, friends, company, women, a man, life.

Of course, wanting doesn’t always make it so.

Then one day, long past the time I expected such a thing, I bumped into a miracle.  It was Bill: dark-haired, athletic, smart, a successful lawyer who had worked all his life for ordinary workers, a man extraordinarily giving and good. It would take a book to tell you how wonderful he is. So yes, I needed Bill. I needed him desperately.

And he needed me. Remember the lively country song by Gail Davies?

Somewhere a man got no woman to turn to/ Somewhere a woman is lonely and blue / Somewhere a child’s got no momma to hold her / Someone is looking for someone like you.



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