I have no idea which thing is the hardest, but one of them, surely, is that life moves on, even when someone we love is no longer here.
And yesterday was a momentous one. I spent much of it longing for Chicago Son, wishing he were here to enjoy and debate it with. (He had become quite the libertarian, influenced far too much by University of Chicago economics.) I wish he were here to discover how Barack Obama's presidency will unfold. I wish he were able to spend a week-end in Washington with me, as he did when he was an 8th-grader working on a bkack-and-white photography project and we tromped all over the city together.
It was a hard day.
I didn't watch the Inauguration at the actual time; I went to the seminary chapel service, for which the local Catholic bishop had long been scheduled to preach for the Week for Christian Unity. Ecumenical and interfaith dialogue being two of my priorities in my former life, I thought the least I could do was show up for his sermon.
And so I watched the Inauguration late in the afternoon, in the company of classmates and professors and, in spite of everything, I found myself cheering when the new President completed the oath of office.
Musical Friend commented last week that every change distances her a little more from her husband. She noted how difficult it was to see 2009 arrive, knowing that it is the first of the years in which he will never live. (In fact, as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, she and I were sitting at a table in a friend's house, deeply engrossed in conversation. Everyone else was gathered around the tv and began to cheer, and we looked at one another and shrugged. Whatever.) This presidency is another of those changes. All of these new beginnings are so laden with sadness.
But ~ a new beginning it is, and one for which I do have hopes.
Congratulations, Mr. President.