No endings

Kathy at Jeff’s grave, Arlington National Cemetery, April 2018

“There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.” ― Hilary Mantel

“…life is eternal
And love is immortal
And death is only a horizon
Life is eternal
As we move into the light
And a horizon is nothing
Save the limit of our sight.”Carly Simon

During the past week my friend Kathy was visiting me from Texas. We went out to Arlington National Cemetery and from there into DC on a lovely spring day. The cherry blossoms were just past full bloom, still beautiful, and it was the kind of afternoon that is a balm for the sorrows of a cold and dreary winter. 

Daffodils were blooming throughout Arlington and in the District.
These were a short stroll from Jeff’s grave.

I don’t have many words today, but I do wish you lovely April afternoons to fill you with peace and reassurance that cannot be fully described or understood.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning, Julia. ☕️ What a storm we had last night in Garden City! Yet this morning has sun beams that are streaming in my kitchen window. I noticed a flickering in the brightness on the wall, only to be aware of the American flag blowing in the morning breeze. The storm has passed and a new day begins here, as well. With hope, Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, hope this finds the worst of the springtime storms behind you. Another hurricane season will be here before we know it, so let’s hope for some calm before then! Don’t you just love it when the sunshine fills the kitchen up with cheery light? I think I can say honestly that in every home I’ve ever lived in, my favorite window has been the one in the kitchen. Sending love & hugs across the miles.

  2. MaryEllen Davis

    Thank you Julia. Peace be with you

    • You’re welcome, MaryEllen. I am so happy you are here with us.

  3. My prayers are with you and Matt! Love to you both!💟. We lost Ron’s stepson last Monday. He was blind and had lots of medical problems but still going to college to be a lawyer for the disabled. Our hearts are hurting. He was 56.

    • Oh Cherie, I’m sorry for your loss. 56 is so young. Jeff was 57. So many hopes and dreams cut short. You are ever in my prayers. May you and Ron be comforted with loving memories.

  4. Carol Hoyos

    Dear Julia,
    I concur, words escape me when visiting the gravesites of my parents in Arlington and none are needed. With hearts bursting it’s a solemn thing we do when we visit those we’ve love…..still. ♥️

    • Thank you, Carol. Arlington is truly a place where calm silence provides healing and hope.

  5. Love is eternal. It’s hard to remember that when you miss someone with every fiber of your being, When the sun comes out maybe things will look a bit brighter. The gloom of winter and spring can exacerbate our depression. It just doesn’t stop raining here until it stops completely when we need it most. Hugs and glad you had a friend visit. That has to help a lot.

    • Marlene, yes, is hard to remember at times. I try to stay focused on the fact that Jeff’s love for us, and ours for him, continue to bless our lives long after we were parted. I agree with you that rainy days are usually much harder when it comes to defeating despair. Rain is predicted to arrive here today and stay for a couple of days, and I’m already preparing myself not to get too sad when the sky turns gloomy. As the Carpenters sang, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” You live in an area of the country that has many more rainy days that we do, so you know how that goes. But then when the sun does appear, it’s such a tonic. And it always does appear, eventually. Sending giant solar-powered hugs!!

  6. Linda Blackford

    God bless you, Julia. I’m glad God gave you and your friend a lovely day for your visit. Tomorrow will be the 18th anniversary of my husband Nicky’s death. The pain has definitely receded much over these years, but in some ways, I am still in love with him and always will be. I don’t obsess over the fact that we only had less than 4 years together. I’m just thankful for the blessing of having been married to such a fine, loving man for a while. Carly Simon’s song, “Life is Eternal,” is such a favorite of mine. Thanks for bringing it to mind.

    • Thank you, Linda. It always helps me to talk to someone who has truly been there and can understand how many ways one’s life changes at the loss of a spouse. And it’s so important to re-focus so that we think mostly about how lucky we were to have them as long as we did. I’m glad you know that song! I loved it the first time I ever heard it and never tire of playing it and singing along.

  7. Amy

    From 85 degree weekend weather to 53 degree’s on Monday. Welcome to Virginia. My neighbor has some lovely tulips coming up. Things are popping out everywhere and as a testament to their hardiness a few of the sedum you gave me have come back in spite of being trampled, eaten pulled at mashed on and all other manner of near destruction. We shall see if they make it to full bloom. It is lovely to see them coming up. Praying you are well. Love you.

    • I’m so glad your sedum are re-appearing. They are very hardy plants and require no care whatsoever, but when they get thick they do need to be cut back– then you can just stick the cuttings in the ground and have a new plant. If only all plants were that easy to cultivate! I wish you could have gotten more of ours here, but I will still have a few of the parent plants at York where they are looking lovely already this year. The blooms won’t appear until late summer and then will be at peak color in the fall.

  8. I hope that the spring flowers lift your spirits and the sun shines on your endeavours.

    • Thank you, Jan. I am very grateful for your presence here.

  9. MaryAnn Clontz

    Sending much love to my dear friend: Julia!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann! You brighten our lives so much. We pray for you and hope you are feeling as well as can be expected. May God continue to bless you and bring you health and healing.

  10. It was a privilege and an honor to join you at Jeff’s gravesite on this beautiful spring day. Thank you for sharing that with me. I know he is dearly, dearly missed.

    • Thank you, Kathy. I am so happy you were there with me.

  11. Good morning, Julia!
    I saw a flower yesterday, here in Minnesota!
    Of course I stopped to take a picture. I should frame it in preparation for next winter, as a reminder that flowers exist! Or … I could visit some place warmer, where flowers abound! 😀

    • Susan, your comment reminded me about this blog post. Maybe Ellis can give you some inspiration. Visits elsewhere are great, but most of us have to learn to stay happily in one place for much of the time. I like your idea of framing the flower as a visible sign of better weather to come.

      • Wow, Julia, I had missed seeing that post! The Picture Perfect game is astonishing. What a terrific idea. With my phone in hand each day, I should join that game!

        • Susan, that was one of the best parts of her truly amazing book (which was the Winner of the 2010 Eudora Welty Book Prize and the Mississippi Library Association’s Nonfiction Author’s Award for 2011). I feel truly privileged to have reviewed the working manuscript of Under Surge, Under Siege before publication, and even have a mention (among many other people) in the author’s note. But it’s my personalized signed copy that means the most to me. All that to say, Ellis is the kind of friend whose gifts keep on giving.

  12. Ann

    To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. —C. S. LEWIS, THE FOUR LOVE

    • Ann, that quote– and the entire passage from which it is taken, with its somber closing words– is among my favorite of Lewis’s writings. And that’s REALLY saying something! 😀 At the summer course on Lewis I took at Oxford last year, they started the first day’s class with a 25 question test on various lesser-known facts about Lewis, some quite obscure, but all of which were answered in the required readings we were meant to have done before the course began. They promised a free gelato to whoever scored highest, which they said was typically a score of 8 or 9. When I ended up with 19 out of 25 correct, they were amazed. Both of them said they weren’t sure they could have gotten that many, hee-hee. 😀 So I’m quite the Lewis fan(atic). Thanks for sharing that quote. It certainly has come to mind for me many, many times in the past 6 years, and even before that.

  13. Ann

    So glad it resonated with you. I remember your fondness for Lewis

    • I could never even come close to his intellect, but so much of what he writes (especially in his diaries and letters) helps me to know I’m not alone in feeling this or that, whether it’s a pleasant or painful emotion. I think I mentioned this already, but he, Jeff and I all have the same birthday. 🙂 Along with Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine L’Engle (And Jeff’s sister and cousin, too).

      • Ann

        My husband and I have the same birthday too! Along with Jimmy Carter

        • Ann, I think you may be the first person I’ve known who shares a birthday with her spouse. It worked well for us. 🙂

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