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Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell
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“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures. ...We tell the story to get them back, to capture the traces of footfalls through the snow.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“What they never tell you about grief is that missing someone is the simple part.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
tags: grief
“Hope in the beginning feels like such a violation of the loss, and yet without it we couldn't survive.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“The real hell of this," he told her, "is that you're going to get through it.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“It's and old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Maybe this is the point: to embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Grief is what tells you who you are alone.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Like a starfish, the heart endures its amputation.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Scratch a fantasy and you'll find a nightmare.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“It's taken years for me to understand that dying doesn't end the story; it transforms it. Edits, rewrites, the blur, aand epiphany of one-way dialogue. Most of us wander in and out of one another's lives until not death, but distance, does us part-- time and space and heart's weariness are the blander executioners or human connection.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
tags: dying
“The only education in grief that any of us ever gets is a crash course. Until Caroline had died I had belonged to that other world, the place of innocence, and linear expectations, where I thught grief was a simple, wrenching realm of sadness and longing that graduallu receded. What that definition left out was the body blow that loss inflicts, as well as the temporary madness, and a range of less straightforward emotions shocking in their intensity.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“I'd confused need with love and love with sacrifice.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Most of us wander in and out of one another's lives until not death, but distance, does us part--time and space and the heart's weariness are the blander executioners of human connection.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“The only education in grief that any of us ever gets is a crash course.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“That she was irreplaceable became a bittersweet loyalty: Her death was what I had now instead of her.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Near the end I asked him one night in the hospital corridor what he thought was happening, and he said, "Tell her everything you haven't said," and I smiled with relief. "There's nothing," I said. "I've already told her everything.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“The belief that life was hard and often its worst battles were fought in private, that it was possible to walk through fear and come out scorched but still breathing.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“The rest of the family tree had a root system soggy with alcohol... One aunt had fallen asleep with her face in the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner; another's fondness for Coors was so unwavering that I can still remember the musky smell of the beer and the coldness of the cans. Most of the men drank the way all Texas men drank, or so I believed, which meant that they were tough guys who could hold their liquor until they couldn't anymore--a capacity that often led to some cloudy version of doom, be it financial ruin or suicide or the lesser betrayal of simple estrangement. Both social drinkers, my parents had eluded these tragic endings; in the postwar Texas of suburbs and cocktails, their drinking was routine but undramatic.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home
“Everything about death is a cliché until you're in it.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Counting on each other became automatic. When I found a sweater in Texas I wanted, I learned to buy two, which was easier than seeing the look of disappointment on Caroline's face when I returned home with only one. When she went out from the boathouse on a windy day, she gave me her schedule in advance, which assuaged her worst-case scenario of flipping the boat, being hit on the head by an oar, and leaving Lucille stranded at home. I still have my set of keys to her house, to locks and doors that no longer exist, and I keep them in my glove compartment, where they have been moved from one car to another in the past couple of years. Someday I will throw them in the Charles, where I lost the seat to her boat and so much else.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Mostly I couldn't bear... the paltry notion that memory was all that eternal life really meant, and I spent too much time wondering where people got the fortitude or delusion to keep on moving past the static dead.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Death is a divorce nobody asked for; to live through it is to find a way to disengage from what you thought you couldn't stand to lose.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“All of this seems as though it were yesterday, or forever ago, in that crevasse between space and time that stays fixed in the imagination. I remember it all because I remember it all. In crisis with someone you love, the dialogue is as burnished as a scar on a tree.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“We found out that day, fairly quickly, how great and complex our fondness was for each other; I also had my first sense of something central about Caroline that would become a pillar of our friendship. When she was confronted with any emotional difficulty, however slight or major, her response as to approach rather than to flee. There she would stay until the matter was resolved, and the emotional aftermath was free of any hangover or recrimination. My instincts toward resolution were similar: I knew that silence and distance were far more pernicious than head-on engagement. This compatibility helped to ensure that there was no unclaimed baggage between us in the years to come.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“The real trick is to let life, with all it's ordinary missteps and regrets, be consistently more mysterious and alluring then it's end.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“...gregarious hermit. I wanted the warmth of spontaneous connection and the freedom to be left alone.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“From the first winter afternoon in the Harvard ball fields, "Oh no--I need you" had become an admission and a clarion call--the tenet of dependency that forms the weft of friendship. We needed each other so that we could count the endless days of forests and flat water, but the real need was soldered by the sadder, harder moments--discord or helplessness or fear--that we dared to expose to each other. It took me years to grasp that this grit and discomfort in any relationship are an indicator of closeness, not it's opposite.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship
“Pain is what yields the solution.”
Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship

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