Terry Teachout’s Long Goodbye

Terry Teachout on the death of his mother:

As always, I threw myself into work in order to stave off despair. Going to the theater three or four nights a week was as good a way as any to keep my mind occupied, but in between shows I thought the same blunt, ugly thoughts that had come to me at odd moments ever since December. What do I do if she starts to fail while my play is in rehearsal? What’s the closest airport to Lenox? What if it happens on the morning of the dress rehearsal? Or on opening night? I drew up a string of increasingly far-fetched travel options, blithely ignoring the old saying I’d quoted a thousand times: if you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.

Read the rest, but be warned: have a tissue at the ready. Every word is true, and Teachout brought me right back to the experience of terrible beauty and intense reality that came during my brother’s passing, right down to the astonishing, healing work of a funeral director.

Although I do not revisit them often, these are not bad memories. They’re beautiful memories. Even the pain is beautiful, because we consented to experience it together, and invited God in, too.

Yes, terrible, awful beauty.

Thanks to Joseph Susanka for the Teachout Tip.

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About Elizabeth Scalia