At our 50th wedding anniversary, borrowing Romeo’s words, I toasted Sally as the sun of my life in every regard: giving light, warmth, clarity, generativity, comfort, cheer… The gloom that followed her death in March was filled with condolences, a sharing of grief with our friends and colleagues—a sharing that often heightened grief. I welcomed this: I could not abide talk of “Time’s healing.” Unlimited, unending grief seemed most natural and appropriate. But at some point I recalled the virtue that Sally identified in ideals of maternal practice and extended to caretakers generally, and to the ill and aged they cared for: resilient cheerfulness– a gloss on Spinoza’s notion of conatus. It was indeed a virtue she managed to exhibit throughout the tribulations of her last three months, even until her last day or two.
Under that influence, I began to notice the effects of sharing love with those who loved her. As shared grief could deepen grief, shared love I began to realize could heighten my love for her and lighten spirits. The sharing of love for Sally today is such a blessing, as are many of the brief tributes people have contributed to a memorial booklet you will have as you leave the reception, along with a video copy of the moving full interview by Joan Callahan and Nancy Tuana from which we’ve seen clips today.
You will notice on the back cover of the booklet a website [https://sararuddick.wordpress.com/] where I will soon post some of Sally’s essays on both aging and war, as well as early photos and other memorabilia. I hope some of you will contribute to that continuing commemoration. These efforts I uncritically and sentimentally regard as extending Sally’s life without her and to some degree replacing the vanished sun with a pale moon.