Sunday, November 20, 2016

On Loss

30,000 miles in the air
the perfect time for reflection
It has been a year. A year in which I could dwell on the sorrow and loss for the majority of every day. I could also look for the silver lining, just like I'm supposed to. In the wake of losing Nate, I was told more than once to be strong, others would look to me, folks believed in my strength and ability to make it through. Some times those words felt comforting. Other times I thought, "Can't we choose someone else to be strong?"

a bicycle built for two!
having fun this weekend

The election, for me, was also devastating. I know I have readers of all political persuasions and this blog is about books and adventures, not politics. In my last post I even told you how over the election I was feeling - even before the big day. I will not wax on about where I think we went wrong. You can meet me for a coffee and I will tell you all about it and even listen when or if you disagree. But this election felt, to me, as if I experienced another death. I guess I'm not a very good loser.

With the seemingly increased amount of racist and hurtful actions taken by our citizens in the last week, it can start to feel like we are moving backward. What I have learned about earth shattering losses, which many are feeling in this election, is even when you lose you can still win. Even in this time when we feel overwhelmed by the loss, we will be strong. Then, friends and readers, you will start to see the kindness. You will notice that not all is lost. I believe in you, just like my friends believed in me, that you are strong enough to keep our world as kind and loving as we hope it is. Even when you wish someone else could be strong for you, you will get through this.

This weekend I attended a wedding of a dear friend in southern Maryland. Friday night I reunited with friends and we laughed our way through the weekend. Some of us hadn't seen each other in a couple of years but it was as if no time was lost. Moments and weekends like this help me gain strength. During the wedding ceremony, a Catholic mass, I was moved to tears when the petitions for prayers were read. For those who haven't attended a Catholic mass, at one point in the service, prayers can be offered in the name of a person who has passed. At weddings, it is typical for these to be dedicated to special family members of the bride or groom. At my friend's wedding, these names were read and included among them was my nephew, Nate Howe. It took all that strength that others think I have to not sob at that very moment. Thankfully, I kept it together, with only one minor gasp. My BF did a quick makeup check and helped me clear the melting mascara. I was a guest, and no longer consider myself Catholic, which the bride knew, and yet she included me. There are seeds of goodness everywhere.

Today I read Melissa Sweet's new book (to be blogged about later!) about E.B. White. At one point, Sweet includes a letter White wrote that made me stop in my tracks. Below is the letter. It seems as if E.B. White is writing it directly for us - and it was written in 1973. Wind the clocks, tomorrow is coming. Be strong and have courage - we can do this.

The beautiful illustration accompanying
White's letter