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It's been an emotionally difficult few weeks.
A year ago yesterday my son Zachariah took his life. I write this in my newsletter, and share my raw truth with you, because to skip over it and write only about the wonder and joy of autumn would be disingenuous. I grieve.
Grief is like the wake of a great ship, beginning as a mighty and powerful wave that smashes against that which is closest, but continuing as many, many, many spreading ripples, reducing in size and fury, but still felt long after the ship has passed by.
It's been a year of firsts. The first day without him, the first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. The first winter without his snow boarding gear piled up after a day on the slopes, the first spring, birthday, Mother's Day. The first summer of bonfires with his friends present in the evenings and he missing. The first anniversary of the last day I spent with him, and the last day he spent here on earth. I grieve.
And I hope.
I hope that you are not taking a single moment of a single day for granted. I hope that you are holding those you love close to you, if not physically, in thought, heart, and prayer.
I hope that you remember how much value you have to the world, how much you are loved, and how your absence would be felt not just by those who gave birth to you, by those who grew up with you, by those you brought into the world, but by the hundred, thousands, millions perhaps of lives that would be impacted by your absence.
I hope that you are greeting autumn with open arms and an open heart, marveling as I am, at the colorful display of turning foliage, the flight of birds overhead, the sounds of children gathered in school yards.
And I hope that as the bushes and leaves shed their leaves, preparing for a Great Sleep so they may awaken in the spring refreshed, green, and Alive, you, as I, are taking a cue and learning to let go...
Grief demands a villain. A target. Something or someone to pour itself into, to rail against, to destroy. This I know. So does Harold’s wife, Louisa.
I found a kindred spirit in Louisa, a somewhat eccentric, aging, bereaved woman who finds solace in conversing with her chickens. Her heart is empty and her rage is full. Relatable. Loss does that to you.
Louisa finds her target; it is Larry, the drunk driver who killed her beloved grandson, Cody, which lead to despair so great in her husband, Harold, that he took his own life. A domino effect of pain and sorrow that has left only Louisa standing, alone.
This will not do, of course, so Louisa and her ol’ hens hatch a plan.
Alas, as Robert Browning pointed out many years ago, “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.” Which is another way of saying, things don’t often work out as you expect them to.
In Louisa’s case, there was a couple of young bucks, one, a wounded creature of the forest, and a another of the human realm, that wandered into her path and distracted her from her mission. As the spring sun warmed the earth, so too did Louisa’s heart feel a creeping warmth and a something else that had been missing for far too long; the human connection.
She had lost that which could never be replaced, but she was learning that she too could FIND.
The warp and the weft of Lynne Hugo’s characters in The Testament of Harold’s Wife are woven into a rich tapestry of life, where the irreverent, unconventional, quirky flaws become the very thing that make it absolutely perfect and fills one with a sense of hope.
I think you’ll like as much as I did!
One of the best things about living amongst a goat herd is the abundance of fresh feta cheese - I kid you not! (See what I did there?!) And one of the best things about having an abundance of fresh feta, is this recipe using another of my favorite things - beets! In combination with a bed of vitamin and iron rich spinach, and protein packed walnuts, it's pretty much a win, win, win, win...
* For a heartier meal, add some grilled and sliced chicken to each plate!
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