I have had the sad task of writing a just-published book about my daughter Sarah who died at the age of 44 from complications related to a birth condition. No parent should have to bury his child, and the book I have written, which is called A Cracking of the Heart, is naturally about grief and loss, which is something that none of us can escape. But it is also about my remarkable child who came into this world with handicaps that would have defeated most of us but managed to make her short life a blessing to others. She was a compassionate individual and a gifted writer, who despite her disabilities traveled to distant lands to help those in need. She was also a liberal whose last campaign was a trip to Iowa in the teeth of a bitter winter to help the first African American to win the presidential nomination of a major political party. This inevitably stimulated a dialogue between us, and because my daughter was a serious and intelligent thinker it engaged the essential themes that divide us into liberals and conservatives.
My daughter was a religious person, in a modern way. On the day after she died, an interview with her appeared in the online magazine Nextbook in which she revealed that every day over her morning coffee she said the Jewish prayer “You resurrect the dead,” and then explained to the interviewer that though you can never have the person back, you should “pay attention to the way the relationship continues.” And I have. Every day I am overcome by a profound sadness, missing my daughter, and every day she teaches me again to appreciate the life I have and the lives of those around me.
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