Regular phases

Jeff and me in 1996, a little more than 20 years before his death.
This was taken before my graduation banquet at the University of Hawaii.

 “…bereavement is not the truncation of married love, but one of its regular phases– like the honeymoon. What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. If it hurts (and it certainly will) we accept the pains as a necessary part of this phase…We were one flesh. Now that it has been cut in two, we don’t want to pretend that it is whole and complete. We will be still married, still in love. Therefore we shall still ache.” — C. S. Lewis  

While the world remembers this day as the dark anniversary of permanent change, and as recent news has been rocked with other tragedies and natural disasters, I find myself still coping with deep sorrow in my private world. My inner landscape is oddly consonant with the outer world, which remains a distant reality in my heart compared to what I am living on a personal level, day to day.

The Labor Day weekend was part of an extended low period for me. Matt and I spent the holiday alone, and I felt that he and I are unwanted and forgotten. It took awhile for me to realize that it was the second anniversary of Daddy’s death, which was the beginning of many months filled with much devastating turmoil and grief. I’ve always heard that such anniversaries are felt on a subconscious level, even if one is unaware of it. I believe that now.

Of course, as an even more heartbreaking anniversary approaches, I am forced to accept that the healing I had hoped would be at least beginning by now has shown no permanent signs of taking root. There are all sorts of practical reasons for this, including the ongoing uncertainties of life for both Matt and me in the wake of unexpected consequences of Jeff’s death, most notably the impending loss of Matt’s disability services.

But the real reason I’m still hurting is that I’m still without Jeff after 38 years of being with him. Everything was easier to bear when he was with me; without him, every pain is sharper and slower to heal. In a strange way, accepting that the sorrow of his loss may well and truly never end has given me a bit of clarity that I hope will prove helpful as I try to piece together some sort of life for Matt and me.

My sister has been my saving grace. She and I have talked on the phone several times during this time of sad remembrance, and one night we just cried together as we talked about missing Mama and Daddy. Though she has never experienced losing a spouse (and I pray that she never does) she knows as much about Jeff and me, as a couple, as anyone else does; perhaps more, in some ways. I know that she understands the complex and overwhelming force of the waves of grief that keep hitting me again and again.

So how does one live this phase “well and faithfully?” Jeff himself talked with me in the months before Daddy’s death, trying to prepare me for the likelihood that I would lose the three most reliable people in my life within an unbearably short period of time. I knew he worried about me, yet I felt from him a confidence that I lacked. He realized full well how hard each of these three losses would hit me, but I know that he believed (despite his innate pessimism about most other things) that I would somehow survive it all. The memory of Jeff’s absolute confidence in me, which never wavered through the formidable challenges of all the years we were together, was one of his greatest gifts to me. It continues to give me motivation, if not always tangible strength, to keep going.

On my very worst days, which seem far more numerous than I ever expected, I remind myself that this is a regular phase of marriage, however irregular the complications that magnify my particular experience of it. I think, again and again, how fortunate I have been to have had two remarkable parents and one of the most singularly exceptional husbands I can imagine. That is quite a lot for one lifetime, and though I may not always feel it in my heart, I know in my soul that “God’s grace is sufficient for me.” Thanks for being with me in this strangely overabundant life.




  1. Lani Beagle

    Julia, I feel your pain and I am deeply grieved to know how overwhelming it is. I wish we could connect face to face and have a cup of coffee. Then I would feel better (smile) – and I hope you would too.

    • Thank you Lani, I feel better just reading your comment. Sometime I hope we will have that face to face chat over a cup of coffee. Either in Atlanta or here in DC or at our York home or your home or anywhere in between. One thing Carla and I are finding out is that we draw much comfort and strength from happy memories and the wonderful people who have known us for so long. Your family was so connected to ours during our growing up years, and we have very fond memories of all five of you. It is always such a joy to hear from you. Thanks for being here. ❤

  2. Oh Julia, my heart is hurting to hear of your hurt. I am facing some hard days too. We are back in Arkansas because Ron is very ill and wanted to come home. They are wanting to take a kidney but he doesn’t want more surgery. I am praying he changes his mind. He had no faith in the doctors in Florida. Remember he had sepsis 3 times from surgery. I will be praying for you, sweet sistet and ask prayers for Ron and I.

    • Cherie, you and Ron have been in our prayers every night and we will keep that up. I am so sorry to learn of Ron’s continued health struggles. It’s scary how just being in the hospital is a risk in and of itself. When they sent Jeff home less than 48 hours after his neurosurgery I was scared but also relieved. I know they were worried that he might pick up some hospital illness due to his weakened immune system. That has happened to so many people we know. I hope Ron will get better care in Arkansas and at least he will be home where he wants to be. That is so important. I think people almost always do better where they feel most at home. I don’t blame him for saying “no more surgery” although I know from experience how hard that is on you. Maybe with time he will change his mind. I know both of you must be so very, very tired. The love and prayers will keep coming your way, and I know many who read this will pray for you as well. ❤

  3. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ I have said many times that when we have loved so deeply, then we will hurt that deeply, as well. I can only imagine what degree of sadness that you’ve lived through in these two years. “All we have left” often leaves us hollow, never enough. I’m so sorry that y’all were alone for Labor Day. I felt like Bill and I were the only people not grilling with family and friends. Holidays are often “feast or famine” to me. I know you have an anniversary coming up in October that will be difficult, being the first. I pray that your love and faith will ease the emotional feelings. Thinking of you this morning, watching a raging ocean from my 428 kitchen window. Hugs to Matt! Sure love y’all, Sheila

    • Sheila, thanks so much for being with me and thinking of me as the storms literally rage outside your window. I was thinking of you throughout the week and checking your FB page to make sure all was well. Loved the pic of “Queen Tilly” – is she a friend of Jack’s? I tried to imagine what Walter was thinking about all of it. I can imagine him thinking “tell me again why it is we live on the beach instead of in the jungle?” 😀 Know always that your friendship is a ray of sunshine in our lives!!

      • Sheila

        Julia, Tilly is our great granddog and answers to many names. Her demeanor is truly that of a QUEEN although her speed is that of a T-BIRD. She is a German Shorthaired Pointer from Georgia. Imagine that? 🐾

        • Tilly sounds a lot like my Mama. People who know how I love dogs will know this is not an insult. Mama’s birthday is today, her 87th. This is the first one where I won’t be calling her to chat. 😦 But I can just hear her voice telling me not to be sad, and talking about what a wonderful long life she had and how many blessings we had to be grateful for. She said that under any and all circumstances, so I know she would be saying it now. Thank you, Mama– and Happy Birthday!

  4. Ann

    Julia, words to comfort you escape me. I admire your strength and enduring love for Jeff and your parents.

    • Thank you Ann, your words and your presence are a true comfort. ❤


    so sorry to hear of your distress,I wish I had some words of wisdom for you,as I just turned 88 last month,but years does not give any insight to me to lesson the pain of a loss one.If we Love we suffer when they leave us,but I take comfort is praying that I will see them again if the after life and depending on God to help me through.Please know you have me and many many friends to talk to and receive positive feed back to help you . In Christian Love Maxine

    • Maxine, it is always such a joy to hear from you. Wow, 88! Congratulations! I honestly didn’t realize you had that many years of experience. 😀 I know that when we live a long life, we inevitably have to endure many painful goodbyes, but as you say, we can lean on God and each other to get through it all and hope for a reunion that will truly be “out of this world.” I hope and pray that we will make it back to CA see our Fairfield family before too long. Jeff and I had been planning to come out there for a visit and bring Matt to see everybody, but we were never able to make it happen. Til then just know how lucky we feel to count you among our friends! Tell everybody who remembers us that we send our love. ❤

  6. In the years since my sister’s husband died, we have spent hundreds of hours on the phone. To begin with I would spend evening after evening with the telephone tucked against my shoulder whilst I tried to cook, eat, feed the dogs… in the end I bought a hands-free set and life became much easier (and my eating more regular). Nine years down the line, we still spend hours on the phone (as well as time together for real), but she doesn’t have the same need as she used to… although we still talk about Michael often. Nevertheless, he is still part of her life (and mine) – just as Jeff will always be part of yours (and your sister’s). No one can tell you how long you need to take to progress through your grief, but it’s important to remember all the people who do care and that even when you are alone and feeling isolated, you are still loved.

    • Thank you so much, Jan. Your beautiful letter is sitting on my dining room table. It is such a rare gift to receive such a letter. I love re-reading it and seeing your lovely handwriting. It might sound silly but when your letter arrived I immediately went to an online map of Wales to get an idea of where you lived. My neighbor across the street lived in Wales and has told me of how beautiful it is. She is one of the people who fed my tea addiction. 😀 I am so glad you were there for your sister in the years since Michael died. I used to have a hands-free set but it was a cheap one and got too static-riddled to be much use. Now I just put on speakerphone when I need to. Thanks for your presence both here and in the postal mail too! I plan to answer your letter soon. I love sending and receiving the good old-fashioned letters and always will.

      • I’m so glad that the letter arrived… I’m always a little worried they will go astray.
        I think I am lucky to be so close to my sister – it has been a privilege to be able to support her and to see how she has not only coped, but eventually bloomed since she lost Michael. I know that she would have preferred a different life, but it is an inspiration to see her now and know that she actually is happy.

        • It always encourages me to hear stories such as hers. Thank God for sisters!

  7. Oh, and what an absolutely beautiful picture.

    • Thank you. Our older son Drew snapped that photo of us before we left for the banquet. You can’t see it in the photo, but I am wearing a gorgeous lei Jeff got for the occasion.

      • What a lovely memory to have

        • Yes, and somewhere I still have the dried flowers, strung together. At least I think I do! Unless I threw them out in one of my more determined cleaning sprees.

  8. The anniversaries are the worst. We remember the textures, the smells, the light, all of it, and with that the memory of loss is gathered up in the date. Julia, you’ve been through enormous loss and face the daunting daily task of parenting a child with many challenges, a child that will never grow up and leave home. That’s daunting in and of itself. And of course you miss and grieve for Jeff, your life partner, your soul mate, and the father of your children. Though you are not alone, and there are many of us to support you, the journey of grief can be isolating as so much of the work has to happen in our hearts. It has its own timeline, even though we want to slam the door on that painful reality. Sending you love xo

    • Alys, that’s so true. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has written, “It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” Yet we can and do find so much solace in the love of those who are willing to stay with us even as we are hard to comfort. Sometimes, in fact almost always, just being there– whether in person, or via words and thoughts– is far more healing than is immediately apparent to anyone involved. You have been with me for several years now, in so many ways, including being beside me at Jeff’s grave, literally and figuratively. My gratitude and love to you for being YOU and being here!

      • Arms around you, Julia and thank you for your kind words.

        • ❤ 🙂

  9. Such a beautiful photo of you two!
    Hello dearest xo As i read your thoughts, poured out here, I’m struggling to contain my own tears for your pain. Do you feel sometimes like you’re just walking through life, not absorbing it? I ask because I have felt that way sometimes, either due to grief or exhaustion. There didn’t seem to be much more to do except wait for it to get better. But then I got into some therapy. A person without a stake in fog except to help me cope and organize my life. I’m really greatful that I went. I don’t know if you’ve considered this J, but it was my saving grace. Yes, your life has been abundant with blessings and love, but the accumulation of trauma can break even the strongest of us. Unlike you, I had no one to stay strong for. I’m so happy you have your sweet Matt and family and grandbabies. I did it for my dad, he was still with us when my life fell apart and I didn’t want him to worry about me. I needed him to see that I would be ok (even though somedays I wasn’t sure myself). It’s too much for one heart. Arms around you and sending love! xo k

    • Yes, it’s very much like walking around in a numb sort of daze sometimes. I had a very good counselor in California when I was coping with all the stresses related to Matt’s illness, and she opened my eyes to many things that have stayed with me. I went back to counseling briefly after we lived here, and the counselor was good, but it didn’t help me much. I think it was probably because I had already been through the process and had pretty much gotten what I could get out of it. There are some life challenges that one can’t fix with talking. Having said that, I’m fortunate to have a close friend who has been a psychotherapist for over 40 years, and though she would never be my counselor (she says it would be unethical, I guess because it would be a conflict between personal and professional relationships) I do find that talking with her in an everyday way is almost always therapeutic for me. She never over-reacts to anything I say, or takes anything personally, or asks me why I don’t “just” do this or that. I think counseling can be tremendously helpful in most cases. I think depression or anxiety is almost always best treated with many modalities — talk therapy, rest, a healthy diet, and exercise, among many other options that can supplement medication when it’s needed.

      When I read your comment “it’s too much for one heart” I thought of a song I love, by Paul McCartney, who lost the love of his life to cancer when she was almost exactly the same age as Jeff was when he died. This was recorded several years after her death, but I know his experience with heartbreak must have helped him write it. Music, too, can be very therapeutic for the artist as well as the audience. Thanks for being here. ❤

  10. Jack

    That’s a really poignant elegy to Jeff, and at the same time, in some hopeful way, a tribute to the hope that stays behind when someone/something/some time passes. Loss is unfortunately the human condition, grieving well it’s only rational response. When my dad died in 2000, my heart broke for all the things left unsaid, but I finally figured out the most important things were both said and done: we atoned for indiscretions, we ate, we recreated, we were together even when things were difficult. He loved me. I loved him. We both knew it too, and had long since abandoned any notion that our glaring imperfections had to be an obstacle to loving and accepting each other.

    These days, whenever I think about that giant, all my thoughts are pleasing ones. Prayers that in the fullness of time, the joy of a life together swallows up the grief. My bet is that it does.

    • Thank you Jack. What you write about your Dad reminds me of the beautiful column Dave Barry wrote for his father when he died. I had not read it for years, but after I read your comment I looked it up on the internet and found it featured here, on someone else’s blog. I think Barry’s words, like yours, capture the idea that deeply-rooted love does not rely upon verbal expression. Thanks for your prayers and good wishes, and for being here.

  11. Ann

    Julia, hope this link works. This is an interesting article

    • Thanks, Ann. The link did work and I thought the article was very good. It certainly matches what I’m experiencing.

  12. Carolyn

    Love the words you write. Julia you and Matt are always on my mind and know the times are so hard for you. I have no written any thing lately, I have had so much on my mind these past three months. Good news Cancer free, Dr. Told me last Thursday Cancer free for five years. I will send you a note real soon with some more info. Nothing bad. I know the time is getting near for Jeff’s anniversary, be strong you have wonderful memories and 38 years of love from a wonderful man. Take care my sweet friend, hugs and love.


    • Carolyn, what wonderful news! Congratulations on reaching the 5 year mark. Matt and I have been praying you would get good news from the doctor this time. Love to you and Terry!

  13. Dorothy

    What a beautiful photo! It is now a year and seven months since Neil left us and my son and daughters have all commented how much they miss him and it has seemed harder this year than last. Even Dexter who has just turned five often says how much he misses “pop”. I’ve begun to realise that the pain never really goes away, after all we’ve spent more than half our lives together, for me more than two thirds. Like you there are times I feel so alone and so miss having Neil to talk to. My sister is a great comfort as are my friends especially those who have lost husbands as well, as they understand. Life is good but tinged with an underlying sadness. Here it is spring and my wisteria is just starting to flower, so gorgeous, Spring brings hope and we carry on. I keep you and Matt in my prayers, with love, Dorothy.

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for understanding. Same here on the “two-thirds of my life” – a blessing that I wish could have lasted even longer. Although at 60 I’m no spring chicken, I still do not have any peers or friends who are widows. It was unusual that in our summer Oxford class of fewer than 20 students, there were two other women of about my age who have been widowed within the past 2.5 years. The three of us found that remarkable. Of course we did a lot of sharing and swapping of stories. When our class took the fabled Addison’s Walk together, the three of us spend most of it walking a bit apart from the others, talking about our individual experiences coping with grief. There must be something about that particular walk that is conducive to thoughtful conversation; C. S. Lewis marked an evening experience there, with Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, as the beginning point of his inner conversion from atheism to faith. Here are two quotes about that walk from Lewis’s letter to his lifelong best friend, Arthur Greeves (who, unlike Lewis, had remained a Christian since childhood): “September 1931: He [Hugo Dyson] stayed the night with me in College…Tolkien came too, and did not leave till 3 in the morning…We began (in Addison’s Walk just after dinner) on metaphor and myth – interrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining…We continued on Christianity: a good long satisfying talk in which I learned a lot….
      October 1931: Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: and again, that if I met the idea of god sacrificing himself to himself…I liked it very much…provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels…Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with tremendous difference that it really happened…Does this amount to a belief in Christianity? At any rate I am now certain (a) that this Christian story is to be approached, in a sense, as I approach the other myths; (b) that it is the most important and full of meaning. I am also nearly sure that it happened…” Lewis also wrote elsewhere that Tolkien had helped him realize that his atheism was not a failure of faith, but a failure of imagination. I found that to be quite an astute observation.

      Thus my own experience of Addison’s Walk is twice blessed; knowing its meaning for me, and knowing its meaning for Lewis. Who knows how many other wonderful things have taken place there? It’s a beautiful walk and perhaps one day I will enjoy it again.

      I loved reading about your wisteria. I have very dim childhood memories of having some of it in the trees adjacent to our back yard, or maybe climbing up the lattice of my mother’s bedroom porch. As you are enjoying spring there in NSW, I am savoring the cooler temperatures of autumn here. Thanks so much for keeping us in your prayers!

  14. I love you, sweet Julia , and I surely loved your baby boys when I watched over them, while you had fun with your friends in Huber Heights. It was a special time of closeness to those we loved. You boys were included in my “loves”. So much fun we would have playing together! I have always loved to play!

    • And many, many kids loved to play with “Mama Jill.” I so appreciate being in touch with you here. Thank you so much for your warm wishes and happy memories! Sending love and gratitude. ❤

  15. MaryAnn

    Julia, I do love you so! Your grief is palatable. No one can tell another how to recover, how to feel. I know you trust our Heavenly Father to be there for you. I am very glad to know you depend on your sister. Praise God for your close relationship! I am aware of the huge responsibility caring for Matt, and I want you to CARE for yourself. A great example is the instructions on a flight require a person to secure their oxygen mask before helping anyone w/ theirs. You know this to be true, may find it difficult to perform. My prayer is for you to be able to relax & breathe.
    P. S. I am not used to typing on my phone, so if this is “not fit to print”,
    pls fix or delete: MA

    • Thank you Mary Ann. I am working hard on striking the right balance between time for me and time for Matt or other things. Too often “me” time means “time to work on other business, tasks, errands etc.” but of course that’s not what I need. So far the easiest way for me to take care of myself is to allow myself to go as slowly as I want, especially when I’m tired or sad. YES I’m thankful for my sister — and thankful for all my other sisters, including YOU! ❤

      • MaryAnn

        It fills my heart with joy to read these encouraging words from “your” people! After reading that Jeff had given you a gorgeous lei to wear to your graduation banquet; now I can see it opposite the pink ribbon! Beautiful memory!

        • Thank you, Mary Ann. Such wonderful people read this blog, and I could never begin to say how much everyone here has encouraged me!

  16. Harry Sims

    Oh my love.
    Oh my love!
    My heart aches for you.


    • Harry Sims

      Philippians 1:15-18 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.

      Paul seems to be telling the Christians in Philippi that there’s no such thing as a bad experience or even—dare I say it—bad publicity. Paul is suffering at the hands of the Romans yet he prefers to think of the good that has come of his suffering.
      Suffering can be one of the greatest challenges to our faith because we become mired in the depths of our sorrow and can’t bring ourselves to see the possibility of a positive side. Maybe finding meaning in suffering is not about perceiving an event as good or bad but rather about acknowledging that suffering is part of our journey—this thing that makes us hurt has happened and here’s how things have changed. Putting our suffering to good use is about remembering that while we have no idea where we’re going, God knows and is always with us. And for this, we will continue to rejoice. –Sophfronia Scott

      This came up on the Internet immediately after I read and commented on your reflections this morning.

      • Thank you, Harry. This is an appropriate devotional for me right now, as you could tell. I am working on not allowing the sadness to become larger by dwelling on it. It has most definitely been a learning experience, and continues to be one. Right now that is how it is changing things for me. The challenge will be putting the things I’m learning to good use. Doing that is a lifelong journey, as it is for all of us, in one way or another.

    • Thank you, Harry.

  17. Dear Julia, I can feel your pain and what you are going through. I doubt if ‘feel’ is the apt word – ‘imagine’ would be a more honest word. Because our pain, loss are all ours. Others can only guess the extent of it.
    I remember once when my father asked an aunt of mine who lost her loving husband about her life without him, she said, “I keep on surviving because I ought to. There is no other way.” Those words touched me. Her faith still helps her move on.
    Putting your grief into words will be a bit of a relief. Keep on writing, for yourself and for your readers like me.

    • Thank you, Bindu. I appreciate your encouragement about the writing. In truth I don’t think I am capable of NOT writing– at least not for very long– but I must admit that it can feel self-indulgent. So it’s a comfort when others like what I write. “There is no other way” is a very good way to describe what the survivor’s life is like. Over the years since Matt has been born, people would sometimes say “I don’t know how you do it” but of course I always thought (and often said) “because I have no choice, and you would do the same if you were in my place.” We all are in different situations, some good, some neutral, some horrible, but all of us do what we must and what we can. We can only guess at each other’s inner landscapes, but the fact that we all have them does bind us together. Thanks for being here with me. I hope your life is full of blessings in this time of change.

  18. God bless, Julia. This wonderful post is a testament to love. For all the suffering you have endured and have yet to endure validates that. Suffering is a symptom of love. Love demands it to be so.

    • Thank you, Alan. Perhaps our world seems colder at times because we have all grown too accustomed to a relatively easy life. I have thought many times of how much more common an experience early bereavement once was. So many parents lost children, and other family members, at earlier ages and after much suffering. When my kids were babies and had ear infections, I used to think how awful it must have been before antibiotics, when one would have to watch children suffer and fight fevers with nothing much to be done for it except hope they would get well. As C. S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.”

  19. Well crafted and generously offered, and may the hope and forbearance that you have within you ever sustain you through our Lord and Jeff’s presence in your daily living, still.

    • Thank you, Cynthia. I appreciate your encouragement!

  20. Good morning, Julia!
    44 posts … and counting ….
    I can’t stop crying long enough to post anything useful.
    I’m so sorry.

    • Thank you, Susan. Just your being here with us is useful enough. ❤

  21. Julia, my heart goes out to you and Matt. I cannot imagine my life without George, and he found out he needs to lose a lot of weight because his oxygen level goes down when he’s asleep. He also has adema in his legs so I have been worried about him, but I think he just has to lose the weight and things will most likely get back to normal. They are also going to do an ecocardiagram and a stress test. He has been taking water pills to reduce the adema for the last couple of weeks. He and I have been married for almost 22 years and are best friends. I hope to never lose him, so I really wish I could be there to hug you and talk with you, my friend. I am glad your sister is there for you. Take care, Julia. I am praying for you and Matt.

    • Patsy, I’m so sorry George is having health problems. Matt and I pray for many of our blog family, including you, and now we are adding George’s health challenges to the list. I too hope you will never lose him. Thanks for being here — it’s almost as good as being with me in person! As Marlene knows, cyber hugs are quite beneficial too. Thanks for your prayers. We’ll keep lifting each other up and trusting, along with Julian of Norwich, that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Thanks so much for being here! Your roses (in the framed artwork on my kitchen wall) are a daily reminder of your friendship.

  22. Beth

    “despite his innate pessimism about most other things” – Reminds me of Dad. I once asked Dad why he was so pessimistic, and his answer was both confounding and optimistic. If your outlook is expecting the worst and the outcome is positive, then you’ll be happy and surprised more times than not. My observation is that it shields a tender heart; despite his dry and gruff demeanor.

    Love, Beth

    I’m reading through from beginning to end.

    • Beth, Jeff actually said almost that very thing about pessimism, as did another friend of mine who used to be quite gloomy at times. This other friend said to me “if you hope for the best but expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” I always felt that his pessimism held him back, but of course, that’s a different story…obviously it did not hold Jeff back, as he accomplished much more than I ever have! I agree with you that the pessimism, as well as the dry demeanor, does tend to shield a tender and sensitive heart. It was this compassion for any underdog that first drew me to Jeff, I think– other than his looks, of course 😀 . Of all the adjectives that I could use to describe his character, “generous to others” (unfortunately not to himself) would be near the top of the list. Thanks for being here! It means more than you know. Looking back over 61 years of a long and mostly very happy life, our youthful friendship is one of my favorite memories! ❤

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