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Wounded Heart
Photo: MorgueFile
Many years ago, a first-year-representative to the New York State Assembly received a telegram at his Albany office commanding, Come home now! Just the day before, his wife had given birth to a baby girl. After a five-hour train trip to his home in New York City, the man was greeted by his brother with this sad lament: “There’s a curse on this house.”

The new father dashed to their bedroom, where he found his wife, Alice, dying. Holding her, he could be heard pleading, “Let her live, let her live.” At one point during that long night, someone slipped into the bedroom and whispered into the man’s ear: “If you want to see your mother, Martha, before she dies, you should come downstairs now.” The man walked down a flight of stairs to his mother’s room, where he sat with her until she died at 3:00 A.M.

Identical Rosewood Caskets

Returning upstairs, the man then held his wife until she also died the following afternoon. Before the man went to bed that night, he opened his daily diary and slashed a huge “X” across that day’s page and scribbled, “The light has gone out in my life.” The date was February 14, 1884, Valentines Day. Two days later, the man followed identical rosewood caskets down the aisle of the same church in which he had married Alice four years earlier. The sanctuary was packed with some of New York City’s most distinguished citizens.

During the funeral service, even the minister wept as he tried to offer words of hope to the grieving son and husband. After the service, the man had to be led like a child to and from the graves in Greenwood Cemetery. Friends described him as being dazed, stunned. Others said, “He does not know what he does or says.” Many concluded that the twin blows of death would leave him with permanent damage.

Yet the man who experienced such a devastating Valentine’s Day did recover from those losses. Over time, his wounded heart healed. He would marry again, serve as assistant secretary of the navy and governor of New York, and become President of the United States. Teddy Roosevelt is an excellent example of the truth that all of us can rise above suffering, that wounded hearts can be mended, and that life can be good in spite of harsh blows.

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By Victor Parachin. Reprinted with permission from Signs of the Times March 2005. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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