53 + 31 weeks: A Lesson in Privilege

Dave and Earlene Mora
Dave and Earlene Mora

 

“I’m privileged in a way few people are because I’m the product of a love that was willing to risk all privilege.  

 

 

 

Author’s note: Although originally written in 2010  in the aftermath of anti-Hispanic tensions in Tucson, Arizona, recent post-election events have me thinking once again about the capacity of love to bridge the barriers  much of society wants us to believe exist.

Perhaps not consciously aware of it growing up, as a young adult and still today I’m convinced my parents lived the best romance ever. Without doubt their relationship and marriage – perhaps not always “easy” – was, however, instrumental in shaping my concepts of what it means to give everything for love. ~~

I’ve thought and talked about “privilege” in a variety of situations.  I keep a list of more than fifty ways I’m privileged as a means of staying “awake”.  Some of my privileges have been gained by effort, others have been gained purely through the accident of birth, and others are the result of a hierarchy of privileges created long before I was born.  It’s fair to say that even the privileges I now enjoy by previous effort are first and foremost a result of being born with fair skin.

Skin color is the first privilege on my list.  I’m aware that skin color, gender, access to education, economics, sexual preference, all factor into the formula for determining privilege as well as disadvantages.  I can be on both sides of the privilege coin at any given moment, but fair skin and blue eyes frequently ensure that I will enjoy a favorable position within the realm of privilege.

For a long time I understood privilege conceptually, logically.  My understanding was more academic than experiential.  I’ve come to understand privilege in a new way.

On the outside I appear completely Caucasian, a nondescript  “American”.  My last name, Mora, might be attributed to an Italian heritage or marriage to a Hispanic American.  But Mora is my family name.  It’s of Spanish origin.  By definition on the U.S. Census, on employment applications, loan applications, and education applications, I am Hispanic American.  I am only second-generation American.  However, I don’t speak Spanish.  I never had conversations with my grandparents because we spoke two different languages.

I’ve been told that my grandfather emigrated through Ellis Island from Spain, and met my grandmother on U.S. soil.  She was possibly of Aztec or Mexican descent.  I remember their beautiful skin and hair, darker than my own. I have my grandmother’s odd blue eyes. We had many things in common as you might expect in a family, but two essential things were different – skin color and language.

My father was first-generation American.  He also had beautiful brown skin with dark hair and dark eyes.  My father and his eleven siblings were bilingual long before it was considered an asset; they had no choice.  Neither of my grandparents spoke English and the nuns at the Catholic school didn’t speak Spanish.  His first name was changed from Dario to David for the school’s convenience.

My dad married a White Anglo Protestant woman. Her family disowned her for a several years a result of the union.  My parents were refused leases on apartments in Kansas City as recently as the 1950’s.  No one cared that he had just returned from Germany where he served in the U.S. Army. Based solely on my father’s appearance (what we would call racial profiling today), landlords told my parents to their faces that they did not want my father’s “kind” in their building.

I have two brothers.  The eldest is fair skinned like my mother; the second is brown skinned like my father.  All three of us come from the same set of birth parents.  None of us learned Spanish.  Although my brother’s might disagree (if they’ve every thought about it), I believe my father saw speaking Spanish as a handicap, not an advantage.

Growing up and living in a suburb of Kansas City in the 1960’s, my brown skinned brother was taunted by classmates and called “n****r”.  He hated school and has never gone beyond high school.  My fair skinned brother and I are first generation college graduates of our own making.  Is there a connection?

In June of 2010 I participated in a humanitarian aid project along the Arizona/Mexico border, setting food and water along desert trails so that desperate migrants might have a chance at surviving the harsh desert conditions.  Living in the desert for a week gave me many opportunities for reflection.  People in the desert taught me many things I hadn’t known about U.S. border history and immigration.  Things that help me make sense of why my father may have refused to share an understanding of our Hispanic roots, and may explain his refusal to speak Spanish in our home.

The Immigration Act of 1924 preceded my father’s birth by one year.  My father was born in Kansas in 1925.  I imagine the legislation struck fear into the hearts of my grandparents.  By the time my father was four years old, the onset of the Great Depression was creating a rise in anti-Mexican-immigrant sentiment, resulting “in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants between 1929 and 1935, including tens of thousands of U.S. citizens of Mexican descent.”   Did my grandparents and my father live in fear during that time?

In 1954, the INS, under Eisenhower, launched “Operation Wetback”, the mass deportation of thousands of Mexicans from the U.S.  My parents were married in 1952, so this would have coincided with the period when my parents were refused apartment rentals in Kansas City.  Doors slammed in their faces after landlords hurled the words, “We don’t rent to you your kind.”  Is it possible that racial profiling was responsible for deeming my father an unsuitable tenant?  

Fast forward to the present — it’s June 2010 in Tucson.  I’m sitting in the back seat of a Suburban.  My two White, blond-haired colleagues are sitting in the front seat.  We’re returning from our volunteer work in the desert interior.  We never actually left U.S. soil, but Border Patrol has a stop station between the edge of the desert and Tucson’s city limits.  The vehicle stops.  The guard says hello to my two colleagues.  I’m sitting in the back seat, silent, observant, wearing a hat.  The guard sees that someone is in back, but can’t see me fully.  He leans around the driver’s seat and asks, “Who’s back there?”.  He finally notices the fair coloring of my skin, and doesn’t wait for an answer before waving us on.  I wonder, if I’d been born with my dad’s brown skin would Border Patrol have asked for my identification?  What would have happened next after discovering my last name, Mora?

If I had been born with my dad’s skin coloring, if my father had taught me to speak Spanish, and if someone were to ask me to state my full name it would be difficult to walk around Tucson, Arizona today without feeling very self-conscious and afraid. I’d be fearful of citizens who harbor negative feelings toward people with brown skin, citizens who might feel entitled to violate me physically because of my skin color.  I’m a U.S. citizen by birth – ultimately I wouldn’t be deported, but it’s likely that I’d be suspected, questioned, and possibly detained until it could be proven. My fair skin protects me. This is not a privilege I’m particularly proud of.  Actually, it saddens me.

My father would be 90 years old if he were still alive.  Would he still feel justified in repressing our family history and refusing to speak Spanish to anyone but his brothers and sisters in private?  Would he watch the news and tell me, “I told you this was for your own good.”?

I went to court in Tucson. I saw the process by which many undocumented immigrants were repatriated.   Named “Streamline”, it does streamline the judicial process to minutes instead of hours. But is this good?

Chains clanked as brown skinned people walked in and out of the courtroom. Every defendant had brown skin.  Every defendant – male and female – wore shackles at their wrists and ankles.  No distinction was made between those who were simply “guilty” of earning wages to support hungry families and those who were involved in an illegal activity over and above crossing the border. The Judge spoke rapidly, processing and sentencing 80 people in 38 minutes.  I thought, “The Judge and the Public Defenders look more Hispanic than I do.”  Only Border Patrol agents and other security personnel looked White.  I realized I was now the Profiler.  I tried to comprehend what I saw taking place.  I had never seen a human being in chains before except for murderers on television.  But this wasn’t television.  These defendants were in chains primarily because of their skin color and their country of birth.  They were in chains because they lack privilege – something I gained by a random act of birth.

Could this have been the fate of my grandparents?  Might this have been what my father feared as a young man?   Are his fears still realistic?

The conditions for my privileges – white, educated, heterosexual – are not static, but fluid and depend on many external factors that I cannot shed or even always accumulate through effort.  I’m not sure I can divest myself of privilege because I’m not solely responsible for its existence nor the conditions by which it favors me.  On rare occasions I feel the effects of being non-privileged because of my gender – female.  But as a female with fair skin I’m still more privileged in most situations than those of my gender with darker skin.

I entered my Master’s program in 2004 and studied Social Justice, until then it never occurred to me that my father was “different”.  I didn’t give his skin color much thought.  I didn’t understand that others might have seen him as different in a threatening way.  He was simply my dad. I knew he loved me.  I felt safe with him, always. He was my Safety.

Until 2004 I hadn’t understood that in the 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s my parent’s mixed marriage was unusual.  But it’s here that I discover one lesson in privilege I can be proud of.  Being born into my family afforded me an example of just how irrelevant skin color actually is. My parents loved each other enough to risk family ostracism, unfair housing practices, and random stops by local police who, for over 30 years, would occasionally detain my father on his way to work in the early mornings of the predominantly White suburban neighborhood where we lived.

I’m privileged in a way few people are because I’m the product of a love that was willing to risk all privilege.  

As always, thanks for reading!

Being 53 + 32 weeks: Our classroom is a community of writers

I couldn’t have said it better myself…actually, I wish I’d said it!

Francisco Jimenez, on teaching writing to students who are learning to communicate their ideas in the English language:

Being in the classroom gives me energy. It’s wonderful to be helping young people develop their talents and to see them getting engaged and wrestling with the subject matter. That’s very exciting to me. I strongly believe that I learn from them. They have different experiences that they bring to discussions that profoundly enrich me as a teacher. Students have responded positively to our journey together. I tell them how blessed I feel to be a teacher and to have the privilege of learning from them and helping them to learn.

Part 4 – His words to you: quotes from Francisco Jimenez

Inspiration.

Being 53 + 32 weeks: What did I learn from you today?

I’m getting everything ready for my new classroom.  I have 90 students on my roster.  Similar to China, without the help of photos I would have no way of knowing which of my students are male or female.  I won’t know until next week what countries they each come from.

I woke up this morning with the inspiration of a class theme I’m finally happy with – although nervous about whether I can actually let this type of self-directed learning happen.

The theme:  What did I learn from you today?

Sounds simple, right?  It may not be obvious that the pronouns are not what you might be thinking.  The question is, “What did Diane learn from [students] today.”

I realize I need to have a structure for our class time each day, but I really want to challenge students (and myself) with the idea that there is something, some thing that I can learn from them if they will only teach me.

In his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes of how journalism became his tool for exploring the world around him, and how it gave him permission to learn anything he desired:

“…with journalism I could directly ask people…about anything I might wonder.  So much of my life was defined by not knowing.”

This is how I feel about my classroom.  There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a lifetime.  I could never venture into every corner of the world to learn of such a variety of people, cultures, and languages as I will find in my classroom.  I will never find another environment (short of the library) where I can look within myself to the extent I’m forced to do when in a classroom.  That’s why I love teaching my specialty area so much.  I don’t want to have lived my life “not knowing” and certainly not without at least asking the questions.

Wish me luck! And thanks for reading!

53 + 21 Weeks: Saying “Yes” When the Window Opens

 

Author’s Note

An interesting email appeared in my inbox this week from Chip and Dan Heath, authors of two of my favorite books, Switch and Made to Stick.  In the email Chip and Dan shared a story, The Moment When You Suddenly Know…The Cubicle Epiphany. The story and their email ended with this question:

“Have you experienced a sudden moment of insight…that felt like a crystallization of discontentment or a crystallization of contentment?”  

My answer is “yes” to both.  In this post, which is the first of a three-part series, I reflect on a particularly memorable moment of crystallization and wonder, “Does crystallization automatically lead to the right decision?” and “Do these moments only happen once in a lifetime?”  

MOMENTS OF CRYSTALLIZATION (Part 1 of a 3-part post)

If you think attending college classes is the difficult part, less than 25 years ago registering for college classes was not for the faint of heart!  It required stamina, endurance, and perseverance.  There was only one way to register and it demanded several things of you:

*  your physical presence on campus on a specific day usually designated by the first letter of your last name,

*  the ability to stand in verrrrrry long lines with every student whose last name matched the day’s designated letter for registrants,

*  the strength to carry a paper copy of the current course catalog for hours so you were prepared to make alternate choices as necessary, and

*  patience – exhibited by your ability to wait hours for your turn to speak with a human being at the Registrar’s window without the amusement of Pokemon Go to pass the time.

The year was 1993.  I was one of countless college students standing in the winding river of JCCC‘s registration line.  Each of us hoping that by the time we inched our way forward to one of four registrar’s windows, the classes we wanted or needed would still be open.  

JCCC was about as progressive as any campus could be in the early ’90s, as evidenced by the appearance of televisions that had been strategically placed on top of tall rolling stands and situated in the corridors every 25 feet or so (yes, the line was actually that long).  The screens silently displayed a continuously scrolling roster of all courses with section numbers and their status as open or filled.  It was a bit like watching to see if your horse was going to cross the finish line, except you were the horse and you might discover you were out of the race before the finish line ever came into view.

That year I was standing in line for the sole purpose of registering for some general education credits with the intention of eventually transferring to a four-year university – ostensibly to ultimately study law.  As I came within eyesight of each TV monitor along the route, I would watch to compare the course’s status on screen with the paper enrollment worksheet and course catalog I clutched in my hands.  This meant that I had to keep a permanent eye on the hypnotizing scroll of course offerings that appeared in alphabetical order from every department (no personalized search feature).  Inattention to the screens was bad form – God help the person who held up the line by arriving uninformed to the Registrar’s window, and was therefore unprepared to expedite their enrollment preferences.  I had plenty of opportunities to read the listings several times over during the two-plus hours I stood in line on this particular day.  And it was at the Registrar’s window that my moment of “crystallization” occurred!  

It might come as a surprise given my history, but I had no idea that JCCC offered culinary classes. So it was completely unexpected when I started seeing course titles for Intro. to Baking and Intro. to Hospitality Management rise upward and off the screen. Had I seen that correctly?  What were those courses all about?  I thumbed through the paper course catalog looking for the mysterious titles and course descriptions – probably out of boredom as much as curiosity. Hmmmm. Who knew such classes existed? I only knew in that moment that general coursework and eventual law school didn’t sound nearly as interesting nor enjoyable as learning to bake.

I moved forward with the same slow shuffle as everyone in line around me, and continued to watch the TV monitors – mostly to assure myself of whether the hospitality courses were a figment of my imagination or real.

At last I arrived for my turn at the sacred window.  I only remember the woman’s voice asking me through the narrow opening of the sliding glass, “What classes do you want?”  And without any hesitation I also remember replying quite calmly, “Intro to Baking and Hospitality Management, please. Evening sections.”  I wasn’t conflicted about the choices at all.  The words just came out of my mouth as if I’d arrived on campus earlier that day with no other plan.  Just as effortlessly, any thoughts of eventual law school entirely evaporated from my mind.

The classic fairy tale phrase, “And so she lived happily every after…” might seem appropriate because that moment is such a perfect example of a crystallized point in time.   But the story doesn’t end there.  So I have a couple of questions for Chip and Dan: Do we only experience one moment of crystallized contentment in a lifetime or can we find it again if we’ve once found it, but lost it?  Or was I correct in that moment of crystallization that law school wasn’t my calling, but wrong about the path I found in front of me at the time?   So what happened after that magical moment of enrolling in culinary school that has caused me to reflect on these questions for the past ten to fifteen years?

I was married during that time of my life (a.k.a. Diane Dougherty) when I signed up for those first two culinary classes.  When I arrived home later that evening my husband asked me if I had gotten enrolled.  Being uncertain about his reaction, I remember saying only one word, “Yes.”  It was one of the few times I was grateful for his disinterest.

Weeks later when I arrived home from class bearing yet another box of cream puffs, scratch rolls, and assorted pastries, I finally came clean about the courses I’d actually enrolled in.  By then there was no turning back.  Let’s get real – would you complain if someone brought home fresh pastry from school every week? Or if their homework involved baking and scratch cooking?  I fell in love that semester – with cooking!!  

A baking sheet of freshly baked Crinkles.
A baking sheet of freshly baked Crinkles.

This love affair was interrupted for a semester when my husband wasband experienced a set back in his career that required me to postpone additional classes for a period of time.  When I returned to culinary school, I came back with a voracious appetite for everything related to the craft and the artistry of cooking and baking. Classes were only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the world opened up to me.

KC Star article tells my story of starting Feasts of Fancy and attending JCCC
KC Star article tells my story of starting Feasts of Fancy and attending JCCC

The decision to enroll in those culinary classes led me to my first entrepreneurial start-up which I leapt into during what was only my second semester of school.  I left a full-time job working as an employee benefits specialist in an insurance brokerage to launch my catering company, Feasts of Fancy.  I had never catered before much less ever held any position in the food service industry.  How did I know what to do?  I read a book, printed business cards, and somehow intuitively knew what I was doing.  Sounds crazy, I know.

 

As a contender for a position on the ACF Culinary Olympic Team
As a contender for a position on the ACF Culinary Olympic Team

Eventually I graduated with my hospitality degree from JCCC.  I wrote regularly for the ACF’s National Culinary Review, competed in national and international professional competitions with honors, and was even voted Kansas City Chef of the Year by colleagues in the Greater Kansas City Chef’s Association.

In only a few years, the business grew rapidly from a home based start-up into a 1,000 square-foot commercial space redesigned as a professional kitchen commissary, client tasting area, and sales office.  I managed a staff of thirty-four full time and contracted personnel.  At the height of its growth, I sold the operation to my largest competitor –  the husband and wife team of Kathleen and Andy Jacot who, directly before the purchase, were running the catering operations for The American Restaurant.  The sale went smoothly for the Jacot’s, my employees, and my customers, but failed miserably as an attempt to salvage my volatile marriage.

Photo taken during cleanup after the first wedding my staff and I ever catered.
Photo taken during cleanup after the first wedding my staff and I ever catered.

Looking back, all the indicators and warning signs for the depression that ensued were obvious.  I was without the kitchen commissary I had custom designed and which had been my creative space,  I missed the familiarity of my staff-family who helped me fulfill my vision and passion for creating world-class food experiences, I no longer had interactions with the clients and supporters that had given my work a sense of purpose, and I no longer had as many reasons to interact with my chef colleagues in the region and across the nation.  Who was I if I wasn’t Chef Dougherty?

My mentor Chef John Joyce upper right corner, pictured after the JCCC Jr. Culinary Team's first national title.
My mentor Chef John Joyce upper right corner, pictured after the JCCC Jr. Culinary Team’s first national title.

The sale of my business also preceded the death of my mentor from culinary school, Chef John Joyce, by only one month.  At the time of his passing, the semester was in full tilt and students needed his charcuterie course in order to graduate.  I postponed my grief and stepped into his classroom as instructor until the end of the semester. I didn’t feel ready to be an instructor, and I certainly didn’t feel adequate to following in his footsteps.

Amidst all these changes, my marriage was in a rapid decline.  I was too proud to admit to anyone (including my parents) that anything was amiss.  I was unaware that I was sliding into a serious depression. I was lost but I was a master at using busyness as a way to keep people at arms length and from recognizing just how lost, myself included.

I tried to sort out my feelings about what to do next with my career with one or two chef colleagues whose advice was that I was being too idealistic about my craft. That no one seemed to understand my need to produce food that was artistic yet made from the most unadulterated ingredients added to my sense of isolation as a craftsperson.  Slowly and methodically, I began shutting myself off from anything related to the culinary world because I felt like there was no longer a place for me in it.  Shortly thereafter the depression reached a point where it became evident to my sister-in-law that I was at risk of doing serious and permanent harm to myself.  In reality, if it weren’t for her I don’t know that I would be here right now to tell this story.  About a year after getting medical attention, my husband left and we divorced another year later. That last statement is meant to be read only as a fact, not an accusation.  Depression is a serious condition.  Its impact on spouses and family may be different, but it is certainly no less difficult than for the person experiencing it.

Although I alluded earlier that my foray into culinary school and my rapid magical ascent into the culinary world should have concluded with a fairy tale ending, Gregg LeVoy, author of my dog-eared and much marked up copy of Callings: Finding  and Following an Authentic Lifewould likely point out the elements of myth and folktale in my journey:

“In myths and folktales…one of the most familiar…is Pan, the cloven-hoofed, classical god of forests.  Intelligent risk taking…means giving a tip of the hat to Pan before stepping into his forest. It means entering with no illusions and knowing that your endeavors will always be attended by the conflict between the voices of despair and faith, whose concussive debate will pit your soul against your mind in a boxing ring.It means knowing you must follow your heart even in the face of heartbreak and courageously contend with whatever spills from it when it tips.  It means knowing that whatever you harvest by taking risks – new freedom, new love, success, power — you will also suffer loss, and that loss is a skill.”  — Gregg Levoy (emphasis added) (p. 256)

In my next post about Being 53 I revisit some of the experiences that took me out of the depression although further away from the world of culinary arts into education – which is an entirely different “forest” replete with fairies and ogres.  I hope you’ll join me in looking for another moment of crystallization when I post part two.

Please use the “Subscribe” feature found in the left margin to receive email alerts each time I post.  By using the “Leave a comment” link directly below this post, you can send encouraging words or write about connections you’re making in your own life to Being 53. Thanks for reading!

Love,

Diane

53 + 20 weeks: A Car Named Betsy (On honoring grief)

Although not the car I refer to in this post, this pic of my dad and me illustrates the spirit of adventure a car evokes, and the joy of our relationship.  I still miss you dad. <3
Although not the car I refer to in this post, this pic of my dad and me illustrates the spirit of adventure a car evokes, and the joy of our relationship. I still miss you dad. <3

My first experience of loss and grief occurred around age five.  It involved a car and my mother.  But my grief wasn’t the result of losing my mother; she lived to be 84 years old.  It was the car I grieved — a car named Betsy.

Growing up, my dad kept an old blue Buick parked on the left side of our family’s two car garage. The vehicle’s blue body encased a dove grey interior with plush seats, a mysterious glove box, and padded sun visors that I delighted in positioning and repositioning up, slanted, or fully down against an imaginary, blazing sun.  Even the interior ceiling of the car was cushioned and overlaid with the same soothing, grey fabric.

In contrast, I also loved that my tiny hands felt adult-like as they clutched the hardness of the bare Tenite steering wheel while I commandeered it left and right, right and left, then steady ahead.  I could keep my eyes fixated on a fantasy horizon for indefinite lengths of time, too young to imagine the solid yellow lines that eventually became a metaphor for life – ensuring every driver stays well within his or her appropriate lane.

That my feet actually reached the pedals hidden in the dark shadows below the dashboard is entirely unlikely, so it must only be from phantom feelings that I remember the pressure of my bare feet against the ridges of the hardened rubber that covered the gas and brake pedals.  I do remember the sensation of speeding wildly in my mind then suddenly stomping my way to imaginary rubber-burning stops as I approached even more fictitious traffic signals, all the while laughing with a satisfaction well beyond my five years of life experience at all those slowpokes I imagined eating my dust in the wake of rubber laid against pavement.

Betsy and I never actually left the confines of the garage together, but the sense of wild independence and freedom I felt while commandeering her are undoubtedly why owning a car remains of great importance to me to this day.  Sitting behind Betsy’s steering wheel I felt free as bird, independent, happy.  Anything was possible inside that car and – as was the case with many things involving my dad – nothing seemed impossible.  My dad was a willing accomplice often riding shotgun during these wild rides, giving me the means and the freedom to create this make-believe world.  He was equally willing to leave me alone and unfettered to wander for uninterrupted lengths of time after hoisting me into the driver’s seat.  He possessed incalculable quantities of patience in any circumstance I can remember.   

Unbeknownst to me Betsy’s wandering days were numbered, and she would eventually vacate the cool, often damp but always dim parking space under the house long before I was independent enough to do the same.  However, she was removed by force.  That force was my mother.

“That car” was one of the few sources of contention I can remember existing between my parents. For reasons that will forever remain unknown to me, one day without warning a tow truck appeared in our driveway.  Curious about the sounds I heard outside the house and not finding either of my parents inside, I opened the front door and stepped onto the concrete stoop.  

With every fiber of my five year old self I erupted in disbelief and horror, instantaneously reacting with screams, howls, and tears at the impending estrangement from my friend .  What was happening?  Why was one end of Betsy raised up on that awful looking hook?  Where was Betsy going?  My mother was a very private person and extremely insistent that children be seen, not heard.  She was also a stickler for proper behavior, especially in public and she considered anything outside of our physical house…public.  In her mind being good averted the type of embarrassment that comes from the disapproval of strangers.

Expressing my agony so loudly and so publicly did nothing to relieve its cause.  On the contrary, it only evoked my mother’s wrath.  In retrospect, I’m mildly surprised that I only remember her sharp hiss and firm grip on my arm along with what was likely the kindest admonition she could muster, “Stop it!  Just look at yourself.  The entire neighborhood can hear you.  Go inside.  You are embarrassing me.”  

What happened after that is entirely blank. I’ve blocked it and locked it away.  I doubt that I silenced myself immediately, but I knew that look and that voice well enough to know nothing was going to change the situation. I have a mental image of my dad standing below me on the concrete stairs where the last step joined the driveway.  He stood near Betsy, looking as helpless and forlorn as I felt while the tow truck prepared to drag our common friend off to a place I could not imagine.

In one of my favorite essays, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis begins with what I think is one of the best literary opening lines of all time,

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”                                                                                                        — C.S. Lewis (page 3)  

Forty-eight years after Betsy’s departure I realize no one ever told me that I need not be ashamed of grieving the loss of the people I have loved, nor even the loss of places and things where I have felt safe, secure, and happy.  In my humble opinion, to grieve is to show appreciation for what once was.  I need not wallow in grief, but honoring it appropriately also reminds me to express gratefulness in the moments of having what is.

If there is someone or something you’d like to honor the memory of, I hope you’ll share it with me in this safe space of my blog.  Just scroll down to “Leave a comment.”

Love,

Diane