Sorry to lose a bright light in Elsbeth Thompson

resilience:  1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

I am thinking about resilience this afternoon, having just learned that the talented writer, gardener, and blogger, Elsbeth Thompson, committed suicide last week.  She wrote books, columns, and a blog about gardening, and seemed to have a particular knack for turning wastelands into lush gardens.  Her blog chronicled the restoration of two railroad cars on the coast of Sussex, and to this reader, seemed an adventure in vision and optimism.  Though I am a mere fan of her blog, I am sorry for her surviving husband and daughter.

The news brings up questions:  What makes a person resilient?  Why are we more resilient at some times, and less at others?  How do we inculcate resilience in others, particularly our children?  Can we?

Her death also raises the issue of inscrutability.  Even people we think we know well can be shouldering enormous unseen burdens.  What looks, from the outside, like an ideal life, can be anything but.  Reading about her efforts, I often found myself jealous of her resources, as well as of her sure hand in making spaces intimate and lovely.

I don’t hunt for events like this to provide perspective, but this sad news certainly makes a flooded basement seem incredibly minor in the scheme of things.

Although my response seems overblown (even to me) based on a mere reading of a blog, I nevertheless am sending love to England, especially to her young daughter.

2 thoughts on “Sorry to lose a bright light in Elsbeth Thompson

  1. jude

    yes, knowing is an up close and personal thing and often times i feel a rare thing. even someone close to you in real life can turn out to be a stranger. and life is hard. we often over look that .

  2. Dee

    well said, jude. no amount of toys or talent takes away the difficulties in being alive… and, as far as knowing people, as I age, it seems increasingly rare, fleeting, and subject to whims of grace rather than effort.


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