That's the question one woman asks herself when she looks at her fiance. It's a pretty high bar.
I just finished About Alice by Calvin Trillin. It's a short book. You can read it in an evening or two. A tribute. And a memorial.
It's loving, never maudlin.
Alice was the voice of reason in an otherwise rather madcap household, which prompted one person to write to Trillin that she sounded "like a dietitian in sensible shoes." In truth, she was as far from that as possible. Intelligent, no, extremely intelligent, with the courage of her convictions, a sharp sense of humor, great physical beauty and a loving soul. She was the perfect compliment to Trillin. He says they were likened to Burns and Allen, except he was Gracie and she was George.
A lifelong non-smoker, she contracted lung cancer in the 1970's when she was in her 30's. In the early 1990's, she had a recurrence, then in the early 2000's, her heart began to fail her, the effects of the radiation treatments on the muscle taking their toll. They made the open heart surgery extremely difficult, and her recovery included a long readmission to the hospital. She was discharged the day of their second daughter's wedding and was able to attend that, a goal she had set for herself.
Unforunately, the damage to her heart wasn't reversible, and she died waiting for a heart transplant.
She died on 9/11.
Trillin walks a fine line with this book about a woman he clearly adored, and who, maybe with a bit of a wry grin, adored him. It is warm, sweet and frank, but you never want to cry, for him or her. Instead, it celebrates their life together and with their daughters (and now he spends his time with their grandchildren, one of whom, when she looks at him, looks just like Alice).
She was too young. But they had what they had, and that, clearly, was exceptional.
Will he love you like Calvin loved Alice? Probably not. It's a high bar.
[image from SearchIndia.com]