Remembering Maria Tanner
by Harley Hahn
"Do you know why I love flowers and nature? They stand for truth. They are what they are. Nothing is wasted or unnecessary — and they still manage to be beautiful."
— Maria Tanner
For many years, Maria had gravitated towards spiritual learning: reading, thinking, meditating, and studying. When times got tough, she would often sigh, grit her teeth, and say, "It is what it is."
Imagine so much wisdom in one short sentence.
Not long after Maria died, I met with Robert Valerio, Maria's social worker, one last time, just to talk. As you can imagine, I was sad, unsure, overwhelmed, tired, and feeling lost and lonely.
At the end of our conversation, I asked him, "Robert, what advice do you have for me?"
He thought for a moment, and then said, "Never pass up a chance to tell someone you love them."
(Which, I suppose, is just another way of saying, "It is what it is.")
Here, then, is what I have to say to Maria:
"You are the bravest person I have ever known.
"For better and for worse, in sickness and in health, it has been an honor to know you, to learn from you, to take care of you, and, now, to remember you.
"Louise Maria Elisabeth Tanner, I love you."
it is what it is - which is, even in storm center, even in deep pool of trouble, we have this: all the tenderness stitched here between us; all the ways the "I love you" shines through.
© All contents Copyright 2023, Harley Hahn