My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Thursday—In these last few days, as I have watched a strong man reluctanly give up his hold on life, the words of Henley's poem:

"Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul."

have kept running through my mind.

I became more or less responsible for my brother when I was eighteen and he was twelve. But I remember him very vividly as a very small boy with curls and a round roly face; whom my young aunts made much of and called the "cherub," thereby creating much jealousy in me because I could not aspire to any such name.

By the time my brother was eighteen, he was an entirely independent person, and from that time on, the only way that anyone could hold him, was to let him go. He loved life, he could enjoy things more than almost anyone I have ever known. He had fine qualities, generosity, a warmth of heart which brought him an endless number of friends, courage, which amounted almost to foolhardiness, a brilliant mind, and a capacity for work which, in his younger days, made him able to perform prodigious tasks, both physically and mentally.

He was impatient of the kind of weakness which he would describe as being a "sissy," and yet he was gentle. He was capable of great loyalty to the people for whom he really cared deeply.

Like most of us, he had weaknesses which brought him unhappiness. Most of his friends, however, will remember that with him life was unusually gay and he would not want gloom to surround his memory.

I think there are many people who will remember him because of a kind word, or a kind gesture. Some of the things which he did, such as living himself for weeks on the same amount of money which he was distributing to relief clients in Detroit, Mich., in order to be sure that they could live on it, probably benefited many people. There was a Quixotic side to him that made him not want to subject other people to anything he could not stand himself.

There is much for his children to be proud of in their inheritance and I hope they will remember the good times they had together.

PNews, LBI, 28 September 1941