A Boulder On My Heart

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” –Tolstoy

For the last few weeks, I had been very depressed because my favorite and beloved uncle was dying.  He was only 84 and I say “only” since he had so much more to give. My uncle was an historian and researcher and wrote scholarly texts on the Hapsburg Monarch. He was also a very loving and compassionate humane individual who marched during The Civil Rights Movement and spoke out on many injustices. He was a good example of a fully lived life and he was a role model all of my life. He was one of mom’s younger brothers and she is grieving.  I spoke with my aunt today and I think speaking with her and also viewing the extraordinary obituary lifted the weight of the boulder from my heart.

In August, I hope to travel with my daughter and attend a celebration of his life while mom stays home with my husband in attendance for her. 

In a letter passed out to the faculty of the college where my uncle taught and changed the History Dept. forever, a former colleague and friend saw him at a Convocation years ago…  “he was already seated in the front row as I passed, and I looked at his face.  It expressed who he was–a teacher and a scholar. I still see that face today.  For him, this was a calling, and he lived it broadly, both in the academy and out.”  The letter goes onto say, that my uncle’s, “… active commitment to civil rights and social justice was evident to everyone who knew him.”

solomon wank

 

The Sadness Addiction Leaves Behind

“Addiction begins with the hope that something “out there” can instantly fill up the emptiness inside.” Jean Kilbourne, Can’t Buy My Love

When I heard Philip Seymour Hoffman died, I knew it had to be a heroin overdose and when I heard they found him in his bathroom with a needle still in his arm, I was reminded of Lenny Bruce who was found the same way. We’ve all heard the specialists tell us that addiction is a disease and it is. It’s just so sad…he was someone’s beloved son…someone’s significant other….the father of 3 children whom he dearly loved and was very involved in their lives. Philip Seymour Hoffman had such gifts that we, the viewing audience, can revisit, but his family is left to grieve…to wonder what else they could’ve done…to mourn the abyss that will always be with them. I feel for them.