The Heart of It

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 14 Comments


Corazon by Mark Carter

Melissa reflects on the legacy of separation and the ways in which we cope

Some week’s back, the cover of The New York Times had a picture of two young boys tearfully clinging to their father who was returning to one war zone or another after a leave. The look of panic and pain on the younger boy’s face haunts me.

I have a similar photograph from 70 years ago on the day my grandfather left to go to war. In the photograph my eight-year-old father appears more stoic than the boys in the NY Times but I know from letters and first hand reports that the one photograph of that day does not tell the whole story.

I will always wonder if the father in The New York Times photograph comes home. I know my grandfather didn’t and that legacy of separation has been passed down in my family. This is the story of countless families throughout history, changed by the legacy of loss at the hand of war, economics, borders, political posturing and empire building. Read more

Belonging & Heartache

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 20 Comments

Melissa’s love story continues…

A few week’s ago, my dear friend Lu sent me the card above. She is one of the few people in my life who still sends actual mail and I love her for that. This particular card has been sitting on my desk as a daily reminder.

I suppose the card’s message is always an important one, but for me it is particularly timely and this is also an especially difficult blog post to write. For those of you who have been following us here, you may remember the essence of my post CHANGE: From the Files of “Be Careful What You Wish For” and “Never Say Never”— essentially a love letter to one with whom I had fallen in love. The same one I changed my life for, my “last great love”.

New love is so alluring, folded as it is into hope, delight and discovery. As a then 51-year-old, it also caught me completely by surprise. I am not an impetuous person, but in this case, in middle age, it seemed dangerous to waste time, and so we didn’t. But as with many great loves, the ending is not always happy, and I am sad to report here that we are no longer. I have not wanted to write this not only because it is sad, but also because I feel embarrassed that I put this love out in public and have seemingly failed so miserably. Also it’s hard to put something, anything, out there when I feel as I do that my guts are being ripped out. Read more

Dog Blog

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Family | 9 Comments

“I am the Lord Thy Dog and Thy Dog is a jealous Dog.
Thou shalt have no other Dog before me….”

Izzy Lamb Stetson ?/?/95-8/26/08

We had talked about dog adoption for nearly a year before I wandered into our local “no-kill” shelter. There were six others; snarling, jumping pit bull mixes of varying hue and stripe, though it looked like they all came from the same father. She was alone in a kennel, a lovely, blonde pup Lab-thing, quietly gazing up at me, her pleading eyes begging, “Please MOMMY, take me home.” Which, of course, I did, and Isabella AKA Izzy, Lamb, Bean, Izzybeanie and You Little Shit, became our first dog. Read more

I Still Miss You

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius | 7 Comments

Photo by Pascal Giacomini

I was at an art opening a couple of months ago and was stopped in my tracks by a painting. Lately it’s become very trendy to include text in artwork. Does it come from a fear of not being heard through the art medium alone? Is it a need to be heard LOUD AND CLEAR? I don’t know, but I tend to like it, and to be drawn to it. Maybe because the endless supply of sad goings on in our world sometimes make me want to scream out loud?

In any case, the painting in question held me captive for a long time as I stared at the words: I still miss you. The words conveyed emotion, longing, and a fleeting sense of despair. Read more

What It Looks Like From Here

Filed Under All Posts, Courage, Group Posts, Melissa Howden | 3 Comments

Becoming a woman of a certain age caused me to pause and take a look around. The number 50 appeared like a big round sound calling me to prayer. It posed the questions of “What’s been, what’s so and what will be?”

In the stair-step years leading up to 50, I’d lost my mother to emphysema, my lover and partner of ten years to another woman, my grandmother to suicide and my best friend of 30 years to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. So much of my personal history had been wrapped up in those four women. This life moment demanded review and renewal.
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