After my husband’s funeral, I thought about my own life and what was important to me. Besides my years of teaching and scholarly publication, there are three other legacies that I will put before God at my own last judgment.
Located on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, Cape Fear was the only American cape in private hands. When development threatened the Cape, I initiated and ran a land trust to save it from being developed out of existence. I devoted full energy for four years to raise the funds to buy the Cape from its oil-company owner. I believed that the solitude and silence of the Cape was important to humans, necessary for us to survive.
An infinity of Little Hours changed my life and many others. The book about five young men as they entered the Western world’s most austere monastic will be front and center when I judge myself. The young men sought the face of God. Their novice master told them, “get to God or get out,” four them got out but are still trying to get to God. The fifth young man, Dom Philip, is already there, he got to God.
My most difficult, challenging, and painful achievement was staying in relationship during the twenty-six months of my husband’s very long, complicated, and difficult death. I am currently working on a narrative of my experience as a death partner during this time. This, I believe, would be my most important legacy.