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Finding light amid sorrow

Finding light amid sorrow
Finding light amid sorrow
Dr. Wayne Willis

This is a true story about a New York lawyer named Ted who married a woman named Alice. Four years later they had a child, a daughter, whom they named, after her mother, Alice.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, Alice, the mother, several days after giving birth, died of kidney failure. Earlier on that same day, which happened to be Valentine’s Day, Ted’s mother, “Mittie,” died. His diary entry for that day was a black “X” followed by the words, “The light has gone out of my life.”

After the double funeral, Ted wrote in his diary, “For joy or for sorrow my life has now been lived out.”

Ted further eulogized his beloved wife: “She was beautiful in face and form and lovelier still in spirit. As a flower she grew and as a fair young flower she died. Her life had been always in the sunshine. Fair, pure, and joyous as a maiden; loving, tender, and happy as a young wife, when she had just become a mother, when her life seemed to be just begun, and when the years seemed so bright before her — then by a strange and terrible fate, death came to her. And when my heart’s dearest died, the light went from my life forever.”

Ted was Teddy Roosevelt, T. R., in his 20s. Years later, he would serve eight energetic, even passionate, years as president of the United States.

It may be significant that after Alice died, Teddy moved to the Dakota territories, where he lived for two years as a rancher and sheriff while working through his deep grief.

If a light has gone out of your life, give yourself, as T.R. did, some grace, some space, some time in the wilderness. Often, tincture of time helps to mend the inconsolable heart.