Bumps in the Road

June 23, 2016
brick sidewalk

Here on Nantucket for the summer, my great fear when I’m alone on the streets after dark is not the perceived threat of someone lurking in a dark corner ready to assault me or snatch my purse. It’s the fear of stumbling on the old brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets. Ancient tree roots push up the bricks and make the sidewalks treacherous for those who …

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Nantucket, My Happy Place

June 16, 2016
Mom's happy place

Sanctuary: A sacred place, a safe haven. Nantucket. In my new role as widow, I first found joy that lasted more than a moment when I visited Nantucket in 2013. I discovered a serene, tranquil beauty here that caused my spirit to soar and led me to re-evaluate and ultimately re-purpose my life. I came back to this remote island a year later to see …

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How Do You Find Purpose in Life?

June 9, 2016
Girl Scout troop

When Lev died, I did not have a clue how to “do” widowhood. Books and advice from others were of little help. I looked at other widows in search of role models. Those who had built purposeful, fulfilling new lives encouraged me. If they could do it, so could I. Eventually, I found books that also inspired me—usually memoirs of grief, which told me that …

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Starting Over

June 2, 2016
diet handbook

A year ago, I began a diet that called for eliminating carbs and fats for two weeks, while eating large amounts of lean meat and vegetables plus a small amount of low-fat dairy products. Gradually, I added small amounts of fruits and carbs, while reducing the protein. It worked. I was never hungry, and I lost about three pounds a week at the beginning, 20 …

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Helen: My Role Model for Widowhood

May 26, 2016
Helen

I never guessed that Helen, my mother-in-law, would become my role model for widowhood. Lev’s dad was killed in a plane crash when Lev was only 13 and his mother 39. About 18 months later, Helen married Russell; and for more than 20 years, they enjoyed the good life together. Then, in her early 60s, she was widowed again. I recalled her announcement shortly after …

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Learning from Sheryl Sandberg

May 19, 2016
Sheryl Sandberg

Who would guess that I have anything in common with Sheryl Sandberg, the brilliant, young, Jewish COO of Facebook? or with the 94-year-old Alzheimer victim in the London suburbs? We are all widows, sharing the universal language and experience of grief. In her recent speech to the University of California–Berkeley graduating class, Sandberg—widowed one year 13 days previously—described being “swallowed in the deep fog of …

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Safe Solo Travel to London

May 12, 2016
Roosevelt & Churchill

Today, on my second day in London, I reread my 14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel, which I posted last September. I am surprised by how many items on the list I did instinctively as I prepared for this trip. Seven years later, solo travel comes naturally. Find a friend with similar interests and budget OR join a nonprofit organization with a strong travel program …

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Memoirs Help Normalize Grief

May 5, 2016
On My Own

Grief experts agree that widows get too much advice—too many people telling them how to grieve, how long to grieve, when to make decisions, when to move on. What works for one person may not work for another. There is no single right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a spouse. Nevertheless, most books on grief are how-to books written in second-person. Self-help …

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Grief: Step by Step, Day by Day

April 28, 2016
U.S. WWII Cemetery, Margraten,  the Netherlands, March 13, 2015

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 This was my first blog, one year ago. It laid the foundation for the story I share with other widows, their families and friends. One hundred fifty-three blogs later, with many …

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Friends: An Unexpected Loss

April 21, 2016
with friends in Nantucket

The Social Aspect of Grief Ours had been a social world of couples, and our friends and acquaintances called within a month or two after Lev’s death to invite me out to dinner. Sometimes, these turned out to be one-time obligatory gestures. Just as we had not thought to mix singles and couples in our social life, not all of our old friends continued to …

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