Thanks to the Human Heart

by | Nov 26, 2012 | 3 comments

“Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”

Ode on Intimations of Immortality – Wordsworth

Too deep for tears.  And so the words also fail me.

Another friend of yours- the second in two weeks- writes me that he has had his second child- a son- and named him Daniel.

I had no expectation of extra sadness at Thanksgiving, as I don’t for Christmas.  But I was surprised to find it there.  The vacancy- the emptiness staring me down.  It isn’t traditions that we shared that I miss- it is I suppose, the same thing that makes so many people depressed during the holidays- that overwhelming sense of nostalgia inherent in the celebrations.

You grow more and more distant lately.  It is over two years, and the time is passed when I can imagine you coming home.  The time has passed when I could imagine the scenario of introducing you to our daughter.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s talking by the time you come home; you’re going to miss a lot.  The time has passed when I could say, “It feels like I saw him yesterday.”  It does not.

Today we see the Nutcracker ballet at Lincoln Center.  First we eat in a restaurant at the Time Warner Center- a place we spent many days while I was pregnant- my doctor being just a block over.  While we wait for my aunt and uncle to arrive, I look down the escalator to the Whole Foods there…where I often came before or after drs appointments during that time period.  I try to comprehend how joyful my life was then without my fully realizing it.  How unencumbered by this tired pain.  As it often happens, I see myself four years ago heading down the escalator in ignorance.  I see us shopping for my “birth snacks” something I didn’t ending up needing at all since I was too busy screaming in pain for my 26 hours of labor to feel like noshing on the organic cookies or ice pops we got that were ready to be pulled out from under the dresser in a giant basket at a moment’s notice.  I practiced this action- I recall now- the sliding out of the basket of birthing snacks.  How absurd.

The ballet is the awe-inspiring combination of beauty with all that hidden brutality that bears it up.  I want to steal away some of its joy and beauty in my pockets and keep it for a sorrowful day.  For brief moments, while the snowflakes dance, and the sugar plum fairy performs amazing feats of grace and elegance up girded by phenomenal strength- I believe again.

I read of a widow who remarried but never referred to her lost husband as her “first husband” or her “late husband,” (dear God, let me never utter these words), but as her “young husband.”  This you are to me now.  Getting younger it feels with each passing day…even in the photographs- as I continue on. As I age and live here without you- my young husband.


November 26, 2012


  1. Anonymous

    I've read every post you've ever written here. I stay anonymous because my truth is painful and it is just easier for me this way. I wish that you could feel the tug of my heart each time I read a new entry of yours. The literal surge of some kind of chemical that shoots to my heart as you express so beautifully the feelings of we who have lost loved one tragically and unexpectedly. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous

    I live in NYC (west side) and could clearly imagine you at that Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. You painted such a vivid image and experience. I hate that you have to live without your young husband. Thank you for sharing your words.

  3. Anonymous

    As Roland Barthes wrote in "Mourning Diary "– "each of us has his own rhythm of suffering." Your words create a cadence that is so delicate and yet powerful — and so very sad. Thank you for allowing your listeners to witness these beats of your life in such an impactful way.


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