Saline Solutions

“The cure for everything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

How do you mark passage? In the late Autumn a friend of mine lost his father-in-law Joe to cancer. They were very fond of each other and on his death bed Joe requested from his son-in-law to take care of his widow. My friend is a salt of the earth guy, not big on words or sentimentality but gave a knowing nod to the request and in some way comforted a dying man to know that the people he cared about would be supported.

On the day of the funeral the son-in-law woke early and excused himself from attending the church ceremony and instead went to the cathedral of the forest with an axe and a woodsplitter and for several hours before and many hours after the formal goodbyes ceremony we call a funeral he fulfilled part of his promise and he cut, split and stacked 3 chords of wood for his mother-in-law.

That Winter she was surrounded by much more than the warmth or the hearth. I guess my friend thought the best tribute to Joe was to be has arms and legs, or in this case leg because my friend has a game leg injured in an old accident and he walks with a cane to support his balance on his withered limb. The cure for sorrow may well be salt water — tears or sweat.

How do you remember those who give their best to life and help others live?


3 Responses to Saline Solutions

  1. Malcolm says:

    Wow…. touching. The best way to remember is to do the same and to appreciate what you’ve got, but we’re not that good at this. For example, we fought really hard for democracy in wars, but now we have an all-time low voter turnout.


  2. Erin says:

    This is a great story Peter and so true. Often times it is hard to express what you feel with words, especially where emotions are so complex. Thank you for your inspirational stories. They shed light on things we often put aside because of hectic schedules and pressing matters.


  3. Melanie says:

    I read this blog at a painful cross road in my life. My husband passed away in October. His death was a complete shock and shattered my world, our daughter’s world (13) and our son’s world (18). My husband took his own life. Even though we do NOT understand why – nor, will we ever. There were no warning signs or indication that he would do this. We are left to live on in his memory – I have told the children, we will NEVER hate Daddy, as he did no teach us to hate. We are NOT going to be mad at Daddy, as he was rarely mad at us. We are to keep their Father in our hearts, thoughts and minds with wonderful memories of him. We are going to remember him for the wonderful things that he did – his death is not to be his defining moment – how he lived his life and how he loved us was his defining moment.


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