My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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in the midst of grief, a great blessing

A last word before I go under for a few days: the CNFC conference starts tonight. I’m moderating two presentations and an event where a group of eight writers read from their new books. Have tried to stock my fridge with food so I won’t have to think about much else till Sunday night, and Monique just sat me down next to the bird feeder and cut my shaggy hair again.

Yesterday was a vitally important day. I am already devastated by the upcoming death, on Saturday, of a beloved longterm friend, who is using MAID to take her ALS-ravaged body from this earth. She’s the most efficient person; I just received a second packages from her with printouts of our correspondence, photographs and writing I’d sent her through the years, a poem she wrote about me. 

Then I got an email from another close longterm friend, saying she has breast cancer and is being operated on tomorrow. They’ve only just discovered it and are operating already, so my guess is there’s some urgency. 

I remember a writer, I think Jane Smiley, writing about “arriving at the age of grief.” Here we are.

I realized I had friendships to mend, no time to waste. My friend with ALS and I used to exchange long emails and phone calls regularly; about 6 or 7 years ago, I felt her pulling away, and our correspondence and bond dwindled. I never asked her why. Yesterday I wrote to say, I must have done or said something that caused offence, and for that, I’m sorry. I know I can be condescending, impatient, dismissive. Whatever caused the gulf, I’m sorry.

She sent back the most beautiful note, saying no matter, in any case we’d simply been moving in different directions. And then she wrote, I’m nearly home now, and one day you’ll come to this place, too 

 As Ram Dass, or someone wise once said: We’re all just walking each other home.

Or, as Dr. Bonnie Henry would say: Be Kind. Keep calm. Stay safe.

As John O’Donohue would say: May you be blessed with good friends and may you be good to them

It’s spring, amazingly, once again, despite covid, and all the flowers are blooming, though the garden has gone a little feral, and all the birds are singing – enjoy your time on this astonishing Earth

Such beauty and serenity. May we all feel so, dear readers, when our time comes to go home. 

So then I wrote to two other once-close friends with whom I’d lost touch, one because we’re busy and preoccupied and the other through a misunderstanding that has gone unresolved. Both sent back kind, warm notes. So much was fixed. I went to bed feeling I’d done very important work that day.

I know it could not be more of a cliché, but … life is short. Love is long. Get in touch. Tell them you love them. 

It’s hot out there; I just got out the sunscreen and am going to work in the garden. May you all be blessed with good friends and may you be good to them. 

May you enjoy your time on this astonishing Earth.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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