I lost my father last month. Since then, errant arrows of emotion bounce off the walls
of my soul. It’ll take a while, they say, until things settle down. I’ve been reading the memoir of Rosanne Cash called “Composed.” It’s a great read. Plainspoken and poetic
at the same time, both funny and touching. Straightforward storytelling mixed in with profound insights. What spoke to me most were her reflections regarding her father. Here’s an excerpt that really got through to me, just when I needed:

“In the months since my father’s passing I had come to understand that the loss of a parent expands you-or shrinks you, as the case may be-according to your own nature. If too much business is left unfinished, and guilt and regret take hold deep in the soul, mourning begins to diminish you, to constrict the heart, to truncate the vision of your own future and to narrow the creative potential of the mind and spirit. If enough has been resolved-not everything, for everything will never be done, but just enough-the deep grief begins to transform the inner landscape, and space opens inside. You begin
to realize that everyone has a tragedy, and that if he doesn’t, he will. You recognize how much is hidden behind the the small courtesies and civilities of everyday existence. Deep sorrow and traces of great loss run through everyone’s lives, and yet they let others step into the elevator first, wave them ahead in a line of traffic, smile and greet their children and inquire about their lives, and never let on for a second that they, too, have lain awake at night in longing and regret, that they, too, have cried until it seemed impossible that one person could hold so many tears, that they, too, keep a picture of someone locked in their heart and bring it out in quiet, solitary moments to caress and remember. Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.”

from the Rosanne Cash memoir, “Composed”