Gerald Fischman, an extraordinarily gifted writer whose words graced these pages for 26 years, brought many things to his work.
One skill he often used was an ability to bring the sweep of his reading in literature, philosophy and history to bear on resolving the question of the day. If you read “Our Say” regularly, you’ve benefited from that talent to find wisdom in the words of others.
Those of us who remain at Capital Gazette after the death of Gerald, Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith on June 28 in an assault on our newsroom certainly need Gerald’s wisdom — or Rob’s compassion or Wendi’s passion or John’s strength or the brightness of Rebecca’s soul — as we struggle through five funerals.
Instead, we’ll turn to William Shakespeare. He was no stranger to mortality and wrote some of the most poignant expressions of grief in the English language.
We think Gerald would have liked this one right now: “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
As our Opinion pages have shown in the days since one man’s rage changed our lives and work forever, readers and our colleagues know how true this can be. Together, we have proven that words can help.
The tears in the shower, the unexpected weeping — we know these things will pass. The hole in our lives will remain, yet the cutting edge will wear smooth through constant rubbing on our hearts.
The longing for what was lost will never go away, but it will become a familiar pain that finds an acceptable spot in the houses of our memory. One day, it will be a regretful surprise instead of a wrenching shock that our friends aren’t in the next story meeting, or coming to lunch or saying goodbye as they head home.
We think Rob might tell us that’s what singer James Taylor meant with these words: “But I always thought that I’d see you again.”
It’s hard to recall a time when seven consecutive editorials have dwelled on a single subject. There has been no issue on this page that has so dominated public discussion as the death of our friends in an act of violence.
Many more words will follow. We will advocate for a change to the algebra of hate, guns, failings in our legal system and flaws in society that contributed to five lives ending in a place of joyful purpose.
We will continue to call on those who would lead us to a better city, a better nation, a better country and a better world to fulfill their responsibilities and help prevent another Newtown, another Orlando or another Annapolis.
Come Monday, for a day at least, we’ll pause to breathe.
Today, though, grief is enough. Thank you for sharing ours.