“The thing about old friends is not that they love you, but that they know you. They remember that disastrous New Year’s Eve when you mixed White Russians and champagne and how you wore that red maternity dress until everyone was sick of seeing the blaze of it in the office and the uncomfortable couch in your first apartment and the smoky stove in your beach rental. They look at you and don’t really think you look older because they’ve grown old along with you and, like the faded paint in a beloved room, they’re used to the look. And then one of them is gone and you’ve lost a chunk of yourself. The stories of the terrorist attacks of 2001, the tsunami, the Japanese earthquake always used numbers, the deaths of thousands a measure of how great the disaster. Catastrophe is numerical. Loss is singular, one beloved at a time.”
~ Anna Quindlen, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
“Senseless slaughter of the innocent
In the land of life and liberty
A country of brotherly love
A melting pot of diversity and acceptance
Murder wreaks havoc in the land of plenty
Lives taken at the blink of an eye
An eye once looking far and forward
To achieving the American Dream
Violence is winning while
Young boys and innocent girls are losing
No longer free to pursue goals
Cheated by an early fate of death
The cruel sacrifice a mother makes
Losing her innocent lamb
Off to school, to the corner store,
A playground, or to a movie theater
My heart bleeds tears of sorrow
As I hear the latest news
Of another slain victim
Sacrificed, again, as violence lives on.”
~ JLE 2013
We loss a great man who always led us to laughter and tears. Now only tears. In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays John Keating, an electric English teacher at an elite all-boys high school. In a quintessential speech, Keating tells his students:
“To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.
But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.
It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.
It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.”
~ Gregory Orr
“I know that this life, missing its ripeness in
love, is not altogether lost.
I know that the flowers that fade in the dawn,
the streams that strayed in the desert, are not
I know that whatever lags behind, in this life
laden with slowness, is not altogether lost.
I know that my dreams that are still
unfulfilled, and my melodies still unstruck, are
clinging to Your lute strings, and they are not