Olivia moved to The Hallmark from Connecticut a few months after she became a widow. She missed her late husband, Gary, although he had been a quiet presence in her life for most of their marriage. He had been a tax accountant with a good practice and was very absorbed in his work. His other passion was stamp collecting. Although Olivia and Gary had a polite marriage and had raised two fine daughters, there was little intimacy between them.
Olivia met Lawrence in The Hallmark’s twice-weekly Yoga class, which he attended regularly—the only man in a class of fourteen. She liked the fact that he did as many of the yoga positions as he could despite the fact that his left hand was paralyzed. She also thought it was romantic that he who had been a furniture salesman had always wanted to be a weatherman and storm chaser.
They became friends, then a couple, and enjoyed each other’s company for about five months. Then the unexpected happened. Lawrence’s two daughters decided that their father was not getting enough physical therapy for his hand at The Hallmark and abruptly had him moved to another facility. It was not clear whether he had objected, actively protested, or agreed to the change on his own.
It was sad for Olivia, and for a long while she was not her usual cheerful, talkative self.
The abrupt change for this couple was also disturbing to those who know them. They felt that Lawrence’s daughters were insensitive to his relationship with Olivia, which had made him brighter and more sociable.
They also felt some fear: that adult children could decide what was best for their aging parent—role reversal!—and change his life on their own. If it happened to Lawrence, could it happen to them?
I wondered about it myself although “rationally” I know better.