By Alma Gill
NNPA Columnist

Cancer and Romance

Dear Alma,

My wife died four years ago after a long battle with lung cancer. We had been married more than 25 years, and I took care of her until the end. Now at age 62, I know I don’t ever want to marry again, but I met a special lady friend less than a year ago. We live in different states and meet on weekends at various vacation spots. She has never been married and wants to get married some day. Just recently, my friend found out she has cancer, stage 4. We are both devastated. I cannot marry her, and I don’t want to move to her state to take care of her. She has siblings and grown children and grandchildren. I have decided to break it off. I know what’s ahead, and I can’t go through that again. Does this make me a bad guy?

B. Harris, Norfolk, Va.

What up B! Thanks for your email. Let me start by saying, I’m not here to pass judgment. Clearly, at your age, you’re fully aware of what you can live with and what you are capable of giving to a relationship. During your 25-plus years of marriage, you obviously developed a strong bond with your wife. That’s a blessing. A pot of that kind of committed relationship boils over with love and support. That’s where you found the strength to be the caregiver your wife needed as she battled cancer. And that, my dear, is what’s missing from this current relationship. You’ve yet to build a bond. You’ve made up your mind, and I applaud your honesty in recognizing the reality of your current situation. No, your choice does not make you a bad guy. My only suggestion is this: When you end it, disconnect completely; sever all ties of communication. Since you’ve decided not to support your lady friend during this most difficult time, don’t stick around offering her a false sense of hope. That, my friend, would make you a bad guy.


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to:  Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.


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