Mike was married to Betty something over four decades ago. They had their daughter Emma around ten years later. She took up with the "wrong sort" and had a babe of her own very young. Her "partner" then took off, but not before inflicting injuries on his daughter that left her wheelchair bound for life. Emma was at first suspected of complicity and so her daughter was taken in to care, only to be adopted very soon after by Mike and Betty. As soon as permitted by the authorities Emma moved back to the family home and was re-integrated into her family.
Then Betty contracted colon cancer. After a protracted illness she passed on some time ago. During her illness Emma suddenly became empowered. She learned to drive and found steady employment, to Betty's eternal pride. So for a couple of years now Mike, Emma, and Emma's daughter have lived together in their small house surrounded by the comforting presence of Betty's legacy.
Mike has never seemed to suffer the negative symptoms of bereavement and today I think I learned his secret. He spends his afternoons surrounded by a posse of attendant widows at the Bingo. And when he can he goes fishing.
So often men bereaved after a long relationship seem to founder, but Mike has found the perfect mix of extended support and solitude. It's way better than anything I would have to offer him, so today we just reviewed his inhalers, he imparted the secret of life, and we agreed to meet again next year for more of the same. Unless he wins the £1M jackpot and departs these shores for the Cayman Islands in the interim of course.