Beginnings and Endings

Feeling Small

Through November and December, each night’s darkness clamps a degree tighter. Much as my rational brain knows I have a critical role to play in creation, I can’t explain my way out of despair. I am nothing. I am dust, a wisp of Elizabeth, here then gone. How can I carry on?

Memory’s Invitation

Why does this memory return today?  This question is endlessly fruitful for those of us who seek the meaning buried in experience.  I ask it whenever a memory won’t let me go.  My father died in July, and this simple meal on a park bench conjures completely all he meant to me:  Our mutual effort to begin again.

Full Stop

We’re fortunate to have the time and space to grieve—together.  Had my father died even a month earlier, this might not have been possible.  I’m struck by how unusual it is for us (for most Americans?) to come to a full stop like this, to do nothing but love my dad.  It’s an immense gift.  Grief is beautiful in its own wretched way.

Die Before You Die

Every year I’m surprised by how much spring looks like autumn. I’ll walk to work, delighting in the crab apples blooming pink or the fruit trees snowing petals, then do a double-take: The elm shakes with brown seeds; the maple’s winged clusters are bright red.