My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Friday—This is a very difficult column to write. The time that one goes through between death and the final laying to rest of any human being is, for the people who are deeply concerned, a period when one feels almost suspended in space. Life must go on. The things that have to be done must be done.

The jobs and the interests which are shoved aside temporarily, must not be completely neglected, because someday very soon they must be taken up again. Yet always in the background is the thought that out of life forever has gone somebody who is a vital, active factor, and who never again will be present except in memory.

Last night, when I was searching for some writing paper in the closet back of my desk, I stumbled on a box filled with old cameras and photographs, put aside years ago with some old letters. There was a letter from my father to my grandmother at a very sad period of his life, a few letters written to me, which I had kept because they expressed some sentiment that I wished to preserve.

Among them was a photograph of my brother in the period when my aunts nicknamed him "the cherub." He is dressed in a little black velvet suit, not old enough yet for manly trousers, so he might almost be mistaken for a girl, which must have irritated him greatly when he grew older. He has curls and a little round face with a solemn, and yet faintly amused expression. It might be one of Michelangelo's little angels looking down from an old Italian painting.

Times change. No photographer would pose a little boy of three in such a way today, and yet the picture has charm. I sat tracing the resemblance of the baby features to those of the grown man who looked out at me from another picture hanging in its frame on my sitting room wall.

Shortly, his friends will pay their last tribute at the services here and then his daughter, Mrs. Edward Elliott, and his son, Henry P. Roosevelt, will go with us tonight to Tivoli, where he will be placed in the vault beside our father and mother, life will go on, and I hope the sun will shine, and I know that he would want all of us to remember, but to remember happily.

I am most grateful, not only to his many friends who have expressed their sympathy and affection for my brother, but also to the many people who have sent me messages because they had sustained some loss, and wished to express their sympathy to me personally.

PNews, SHJ, 27 September 1941