I know that seems like an odd question to ask my own brother, especially as we're not estranged and email every week.
My brother married his second wife, "Cher", about a year and a half ago. From the start, they seemed to have an arrangement in which they lived apart but often visited (for want of a better word) at my brother's much larger house. I met her briefly when I was in Oregon visiting our father, and then again last Christmas. All went fairly well.
"Cher", as my brother confided and I noticed, is a nice person but a bit kooky. She didn't seem especially hardy emotionally. Christmas almost stressed her to the max, trying to make things just so. She has no real career except for selling art once in a while, while my brother teaches. I don't know how they had enough in common for a relationship
, let alone marriage, but she seemed to genuinelly care for him during his health crises, so if that's the arrangement he wanted, so be it. He told me something like he'd married her to make sure she would be taken care of after he died.
Note: I am *not* saying that a woman needs a career. I know many of us, including myself, are or were SAHM''s. I mean, they have no children and she doesn't seem to be able to support herself for long periods.
My dilemma: Brother hasn't mentioned her nearly all year. Is it OK to ask "How's Cher?", or would that be butting in? It could be they live entirely seperate lives. How do I address the Christmas package?
Another option would be to call his grown daughter (she is the daughter of his first wife, but he legally adopted her and we are close) and suss out the info that way, but that seems too indirect and not necessary.
If helpful, my family is traditionally the opposite of gossipy and chatty; I often don't know anything about new babies or deaths until long after