A Personal Note

Over the past six months, you’ve probably noticed a reduced blog output on my part. Part of that has had to do with the need to prioritize my time to make sure the front page and feature issues are the best they can be. But part of it has been due to the need to take care of personal matters, and in particular my son. For the past year, his mother has been battling an advanced-stage lung cancer. It’s a battle that she carried out with courage and dignity. It’s a battle that ended this past Saturday.

I’ve tried for the most part to maintain this blog as a professional, as compared to a personal space. And I hesitated before posting this note, for fear of it being self-indulgent. If I do so, it’s because I do feel connected through this blog to a community, and in my experience, community is never more important than in times of loss. I’d like to thank, in particular, the WPR community: Hampton and Scott, for being so supportive, and Kari, for stepping up in the clutch these past few weeks.

If I post this note, it’s also because my experience of loss has taught me that although we sometimes fear that it will set us apart, it is often what brings us closest together. I usually use this space to discuss the relations between nations, often to analyze the interplay of their particular interests. It’s a truism, and perhaps a trite one, but times like this are a reminder that nations are made up, first and foremost, of people — people who are joined by common experiences as much, if not more so, as they are separated by their particular interests. And although the ceremonies and expressions of grief and solace that surround it may vary between countries and cultures, loss is among the core human experiences that we share, universally.

I’ll be taking the next three weeks off, to devote all my time where it belongs now — to my son. Though I know that it’s not possible to repair his world, I will do my best to make it as peaceful and secure as possible, knowing that countless others are, like me, facing the same enormous responsibility. Indeed, that seems like a fitting description of our common obligation to the broader world around us.

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