Thursday, December 06, 2012


Theodore Roosevelt was 25 years old when he watched his wife die. She had just given birth to their daughter two days before.

Hours before enduring that agony, Roosevelt had said goodbye to his mother, who died of typhoid at the age of 48.

It was Valentine's Day 1884, the four-year anniversary of Roosevelt's engagement to his beloved Alice, known as Sunshine to her family and friends. The future president opened his diary and wrote eight words:
The light has gone out of my life.
He never spoke publicly of her after she died.

He went on to do grand things with the rest of his life. He remarried, had five more children, wrote books, went to war — and oh, yeah, he became a governor, a vice-president, and a president. But at the moment he met Alice he heard the bell and saw the light: "As long as I live," he wrote of their first meeting, "I shall never forget how sweetly she looked, and how prettily she greeted me."

No matter the lofty heights he reached, he knew the lack of darkness in his world wasn't nearly as good as the sunshine he once felt on his face and in his heart.

It is easy — too easy — to settle for overcast skies, especially once you find ways to numb the melancholy ache. But that way lies dullness and fog. I've been in that gray world. Its embrace is warm and comfortable and deadly. There are no sharp edges in that world, and many moments of relative happiness, but there is also no nobility, no redemption.

I'd rather experience a lifetime of crazy dreams and vivid nightmares than settle for that gray world again. I may go blind looking to the light and staring at the sun; I could very well cut myself open on the sharp edges. But it'll be done in the search for true happiness.

Anticipation. I heard the word today and in my heart, a small cog clicked into place. Anticipation. Indeed.

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