Things end. Some endings bring relief. Some leave us lost. I feel relief at endings like time in the dentist’s chair, a successful surgery for my sister, or a flight taking me home to Omaha. I feel lost when relationships with those I love end because so much of who I am is connected to the people with whom I work and play. People like Fred who died last Friday. Fred the drama queen poet and next door neighbor who watched my children go from Montessori to college. Fred the matchmaker who brought John and me together and then officiated
“The king is dead,” I blurted, staring straight ahead. The words leapt out of my mouth before I could see them, let alone catch them. It was three minutes past midnight. With a jeweled paper crown atop my head and sparkly Cinderella shoes on my feet, I sat alone at a table a few yards from the dance floor when the tall figure in a white cowboy hat approached slowly and asked, “Where’s the king?” I first came to this dance as a newlywed, but on this night my now former husband instead sent a small wave and slight smile
“Is that vintage?” she asked a bit loudly, motioning to my left hand. In a room crowded with lawyers drinking wine and drumming up business, it was difficult to hear. I looked down at my ring. It shone amber on sunny days, but now the green peridot surprised me with the brilliance of its sparkle under the dimmed lights. It was one of those evenings when I felt particularly not married. I certainly was not alone in my status; there were dozens without a partner. But a tender heart can fail to reason, even when residing in the body of
Knowing his death was just months away, John began to get rid of things. He tossed tattered manila folders from his file cabinet. He gave away books. He added clothes to the Goodwill box. I could struggle with letting go of a calendar from 1987, but if John held on to anything it was because it truly had value. John knew how to let go of that which no longer served him. So when he left his journals, I knew it wasn’t an accident. John died in September of 2011. By October I had made my way through most of
Imagine your life captured on film for half a century. Imagine that since the age of 7, someone collected your thoughts about life. Imagine that your hopes and dreams, your successes and disappointments, were all recorded and then seen by thousands of people around the world. Participants in the documentary 56 Up lived this experience. In 1964, filmmaker Michael Apted interviewed 14 English children ranging from the boarding school boy who dreamed of entering politics to the little one raised in a children’s home. He continued to interview them every seven years. Their innocent faces as young children were precious.
It’s valentine’s day and it’s been impossible to ignore it. The barrage of reminders of holiday of love are everywhere. Romantic commercials of cuddling couples and tiny jewelry boxes as soft music plays. Notices to place your order for the long stemmed red roses in every newspaper. Mountains of pink cupcakes and heart shaped cookies in the grocery aisle. It’s just another day, we try to convince ourselves. For those of us who will not be sipping champagne over a romantic dinner or receiving a flower delivery in front of envious coworkers, it can be hard to convince ourselves that