‘I milked my husband’s death for all it was worth’

I’ll always remember a conversation I had with my mother shortly after my husband died, leaving me widowed on the age of 23. “To me, you’re done,” she said. “if you happen to do nothing else along with your life that is enough for me.” She had observed me nurse a cancer patient to his death; she’d watched me get married and, three weeks later, stroll down a church aisle at the back of a coffin. I didn’t need to achieve the rest in her eyes. at the time, I…

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