i met the most interesting man last year, a true man of the sea. he had spent most of his career as a commercial ship captain, then retired to a small town near me. he looked like he had just stepped out of the pages of some turn of the century maritime novel. he had brilliant blue eyes, a shock of white hair, and that cut-to-the-chase but jovial manner you would imagine a captain to have. but he also had terrible lung disease. at the time that we became acquainted, he was doing poorly. fortunately, his wife, who was younger than him and in very good health, was able to take care of him well. shortly after i met him, he insisted that his wife come in for a physical. these two were generally not doctor people, so she did so reluctantly. she was fine.
months went by and i did not see them. but i just learned that he died recently, at home, with his wife at his side. i realize now that his insistence on her having a physical was because he wanted to know that she was okay before he left her, before he said his final goodbye.