’Tis better to have loved and lost . .

In my lifetime, I’ve lived in five states and two Canadian provinces—and I enjoyed all seven locations.
The only bad thing was having to leave.
After college, I taught in a small private high school in eastern Canada. The teachers were congenial, and the students were smart and fun. I loved it!
But after four years, I was ready for graduate school.
It was heart-wrenching to leave the teachers who had become close friends. But I dried my tears and left.
Eventually, I settled 2,000 miles away, rarely seeing my teacher friends. Now they’re all gone.
We have such losses in life–either when we move or other people move. Although they are still living, they no longer are part of our daily lives.
And then we have the saddest loss of all: death.
After my mother died, Aunt Naomi and I had frequent conversations across the country, sharing our grief. And one time she poignantly said, “Death is so permanent!”
In the past week, I personally have had both kinds of losses.
Two weeks ago, my good friend Katie, the lab technician who draws my blood, told me she is going on to finish nurse’s training.
I was still grieving Katie’s loss when I was stunned to hear that Kathy Warford, another good friend from the medical clinic, was killed in a highway crash.
Kathy’s funeral was Friday–the same day as Katie’s last day.
I became friends with Kathy after an accident two years ago. She was the receptionist for my surgeon.
Kathy was personable and very talented. Among other things, she was a fabulous nature photographer. Often, I would call Kathy the day before I was scheduled at the clinic so she could bring some of her photos to work.
She also gave me copies of her poems, and one time a gorgeous handmade greeting card.
The front of the card was handmade paper with pressed leaves. Inside, the greeting ended with, “God bless you every day in every way. Your friend, Kathy Warford.”
These losses remind me of a friend who lost her father at the same time I did. She was from England and my parents also were many miles away.
Both of us had been very close to our fathers. And she one time said, “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
My English friend and I met only briefly. I can’t even remember her name. All I have to remember her by is an English cookie tin she brought me and her useful quote.
This familiar quote comes from a poem by the 19th-century English poet Tennyson.
Tennyson was grief-stricken when his best friend died suddenly of a stroke at age 22. To work out his grief, Tennyson wrote “In Memoriam.”
A poem that was so helpful to Queen Victoria after Prince Albert died that she said, “Next to the Bible, ‘In Memoriam’ is my comfort.”
The whole verse that contains this helpful quote is: “I hold it true, whate’er befall/I feel it when I sorrow most/’Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all.”
It’s important for all of us to remember this quote because, like Tennyson and Queen Victoria, it can help us when we need it most.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit-snider.com

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