Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Who are you?
Wife of Charles “Lucky Lindy,” hero aviator pioneer, who piloted the first solo flight across the Atlantic. Covered in confetti and accolades. Yes, long before I was born, wifely celebrity status embraced you.
Overshadowed aviatrix in your own right. This achievement of yours evaded my knowledge. Was I the only one who knew not you, too, flew?
Mother of the kidnapped firstborn toddler son, agonizing weeks later found murdered, lifeless body once full of life within your womb, with no private grieving allowed for you, it’s true.
That you went on to bear five more children, this I did not know; more children, who despite their numbers could not replace the one snatched from your heart—from his crib, as peacefully he slept not far from you– nonetheless, I am happy that your arms were able to enfold a handful more–of your very own–newborns, to feel their baby-soft skin pressed against your own maternal skin. How often, I wonder, did your eyes meet theirs with tears and sparkles?
That the single Miss Morrow was a kind of academically-adept debutante-daughter of an American ambassador to Mexico, the last piece of your biographical trilogy I did not know. How lucky of you!
How much your public life was a mixture of classic romance, comedy, and tragedy! Your private life filled with heights of joy and depths of sadness, gave you so much to ponder, so much to write about. That the fruit of your experiences, crystallized as you explored the twin depths of a handful of seashells, as well as your own soul, bore stories that have touched women’s lives for more than half a century.
These are the things I know and not about you. Ah, and there is one new thing, in reminding myself of your life today. Sorrowfully I see—sad irony. For a time before your death at ninety-four, the mind and lips and fingers of the lyricist- journalist-philosopher that was you had been creatively inactive. Silenced.
No matter. Death or not. As long as I ponder the Gift from the Sea, the gift that is yours to me–the wonder of your insights, the depth of your compassion and empathy, no death—nowhere, no how—can take your seaside, soulful woman-to-woman, sister-to-sister, kindred spirit-to-kindred spirit lifetime of knowing myself through knowing you away from me. Forever. You remain my mother, my mentor, my muse—my very own Gift from the Sea.