In a few days Axel will fly west to California and I will fly east to Holland. Both will be trips full of sadness and memories, as I attend the funeral service of my first husband and Axel will visit his cousin who is fighting cancer on several fronts.

On Wednesday last week I wrote an alphabet of memories for my first husband, not knowing what else I could do from a distance, other than this distraction, a trip down memory lane. I wrote that I hoped it would make him smile and forget all the pain and worry and sadness. The next morning he wrote me back. I had succeeded to put a smile on his face. This was particularly momentous given that the doctor didn’t think he was going to wake up that morning. But he did and he saw my alphabet. He even sent it to his kids, by way of introduction and copied me. I am sure the purpose was less to let me know he had done that and more to get us connected via email. Two mornings later he was dead and I was able, because of that forwarded email to write to his children, who I have never met. People may complain about how email is wreaking havoc with our social lives. But in this case it allowed us to say farewell to each other and do it with a smile. I am so very grateful for this.

I am of course also very grateful to the Wright Brothers (brought back to life lately in David McCullough’s new book). It is because of their persistence and courage that I am able to attend the funeral service in Holland this coming Thursday.

I will find myself amidst people who were so much part of my daily life and of our adventures in Groningen, Leiden, Geneva, Beirut, Yemen and finally Beirut again. This gathering will complete the postscript to an important coming-of-age chapter in my life; a chapter that was about courtship, adventure, love, wonder, excitement, loyalty and betrayal and eventually heartbreak. That book can now be closed. It is the heartbreak that opened up doors to the life I am now living, to my family, my career and our home at Lobster Cove. It goes to show that you never know whether a change is good or bad, until much later.

Today’s Memorial Day rituals, where we honor the dead, allowed me to slip in thoughts of Peter, even though he had nothing to do with American patriotism (and probably would have wanted no part of it).

1 Response to “”


  1. 1 Sharon Hughes May 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    http://gogrit.org/ Wasn’t sure how to get this to u, but I thought u might be interested in this….that is if u haven’t already seen it …….


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