Thursday, July 4, 2013

Unsatisfying Endings

I'm not great at writing about myself.   A series of half-finished journals litter my past. They are sappy, sentimental and filled with naval-gazing detritus.  But today I need to take a stab at something personal.  This week, something awful happened.  For me, this story begins twenty-three years ago.

In 1990, I met a girl named Sherry.  She was full of energy, ideas and dreams.  We shared a mutual best friend and we shared an interest in vintage clothing, music, dancing, cute boys and shopping.

After a series of failed relationships (for both of us), Sherry met David.  He was smart, successful, spoke fluent French and swept Sherry off her feet.  He promised her the life she'd always dreamed of.  We were thrilled for her.

I sang "One Hand One Heart," from West Side Story, at their wedding.

Despite some health scares, Sherry made beautiful table arrangements for my wedding 
just a few years later.

We had babies, lived in different states and sampled various careers.

Then David lost his job.

At the time, it didn't seem like such a big deal.  They moved back to Illinois from Texas, found a pretty apartment in Oak Park, near his parents, and Sherry started writing freelance while they tended to their new baby.  But David couldn't seem to land a job.  So Sherry got full time work.  It was just a matter of time, we all thought.  And it was.  When David finally got hired, they moved a few blocks from us in Evanston.  They bought their dream home.  But that job didn't last very long.  And as financial troubles are wont to do, these ate away at the seems of their marriage.  Add to that some clear indicators that David needed mental health care because he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Their marriage ended.  Though David, to his credit, continued to try to be a loyal parenting partner to Sherry and a devoted father to his son.

This Saturday, after two years of struggling to find the right treatment, the right job and the right balance as a father and a partner, David took his life.  He left behind a twelve-year-old son and an ex-wife who still considered him her friend.

Writers are told that in order to write well, we need a beginning, a middle and an end.  Today, I post something unfinished, a truly unsatisfying ending.  


Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Robert Frost


  1. Juliet, I'm sorry for your loss. Hold your friend close.

  2. My condolences to you, your friend, and her son. Mental illness is a powerful & often-misunderstood foe. They will need your support through some very tough times, & I will pray for all of you. I'm sending a big hug. Just stand still and feel it embrace you.