Loving Arms

There is a shoebox I keep in our family room, bulging with letters.


“Life changes in a moment.”

An apt cliché for describing the phone call of February 11, 2014.

“Hello, is this Peter?”

There is before Elisif died, and after. That call: the bright line between.

Life changes in a moment.


An image in my head: me collapsed—held aloft by loving arms… crowd surfing through days otherwise unbearable.

All those letters in that shoebox.

On New Year’s Day, I meant to write you, but didn’t; these public words must do. I want you to know what your compassion has done for me… how it sustained and restored me. I would have been lost without you, and I am so grateful.


When we collapse, we rely on others.

(There are those who experience collapse every day. Addiction. Schizophrenia. Depression. Alcoholism. Bipolar Disorder. There are those who hurt.)


Your letters: “I wish there were something I could do. I wish I could take away the pain. I feel so powerless. I am so sorry for your loss. Words cannot express. I want to help.”

It helped.

I try to remain mindful of our shared aches and flaws and impotence and humanity… to care despite seeming impossibility… to overcome truisms and feel the truth of our connectedness… to be present despite fear… to find freedom from fear… to remember there is no “them” but only “us” in this messy, beautiful, and indifferent world.

A good day is when I remember the power of my loving arms.