In our anger and passion, and our cold logic and illogic about economics, it’s easy to forget that we all just are people occupying the same tiny “pale blue dot.”
The people you hate or love or admire or dismiss, they still are people. We have fears and hopes and pride. We are ignorant about the vast majority of the universe, and we are knowledgeable about only a minuscule fraction. Good and bad, we all are built of both, and then we die . . .
. . . .which is exactly what my wife Phyllis did last night.
And I had the painful obligation to inform my friends and family, the easiest way being by Email:
“To you who know and love Phyllis (the two are the same), I am sad to announce that she finally has surrendered to the cancer, the salmonella, the pneumonia, and the ARDS she courageously has been battling.
“She is the kindest, most generous, most compassionate, and wisest woman I ever have known, and I consider myself to be the most fortunate man on this planet to have had the honor of being her husband for more than 64 years.
“The world is a less beautiful place now for her passing.
“In these COVID days, I do not plan for there to be a funeral or a shiva. If you would like to honor her memory, her favorite charity (and mine) is the American Friends of Israel Sport Center for the Disabled.
“Those who know her best, love her most, so thank you for loving her as did everyone who ever met her. She loved you in return.”
Just writing it was catharsis, and hearing their condolences was catharsis. I haven’t slept in 30 hours, and I find myself alternating between calm and rage. And exhaustion.
Suddenly, I don’t care about Trump, and Republicans, and angry mobs of traitors, and Democrats. At the bottom of our souls, we all are the same minnows in a vast ocean . . . we struggle and struggle, and ultimately we drown.
If you live long enough with someone, eventually one of you will need to tend to the other, and one of you will mourn the other.
And what you believed to be so very important, the next generation hardly will notice. The tide will wash your footprints from the sand.
But meanwhile, I am so very sad.
PS. You never know whether the most recent words you have spoken to anyone will prove to be the last words they ever hear. And if those words are harsh, unforgiving, or spiteful, you will suffer from regret for the rest of your life.
Phyllis and I generally went to bed at the same time, and our final conversation each night would be the same: “I love you Phyl.” “I love you, Rodg.”
It’s a good ritual.