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Hope for the Holidays

October 20, 2017
Christmas decor

…or would today’s blog be more appropriately titled, “Help! It’s the Holidays”? When Holiday promotions start showing up in the stores, when the days grow shorter, when daylight savings time ends, I am again reminded that I am approaching the time of year when I struggle to find joy. If you have experienced loss in the past year, if the Holidays this year will be …

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Solo Travel: Analyzing Risks

October 6, 2017
Ring of Kerry

While in Dublin recently, I had my third wakeup call—another reminder that we take certain risks when we travel alone. Ireland was a typical trip for me. I hopscotched across the U.S., visiting a cousin in New Orleans, stopping for a few days in Dallas, attending a program at Colonial Williamsburg and spending time with a cousin who lives nearby before I flew to Shannon. …

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Porchtime at the Parsonage

June 29, 2017
parsonage porch

When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out. But she treasured it because it had belonged to her beloved …

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Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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Celebrating God of Daffodil and Fun

May 4, 2017
Daffodils

After the merriment of the Daffodil Festival on Saturday, on Sunday morning I headed up the hill to the First Congregational Church, as is my custom when I am on Nantucket. This is the place where I reclaimed joy after Lev’s death. This is the place where I found peace. This is the place where my soul found its home. This time, though, I passed …

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Another Easter, Another Sinkhole

April 13, 2017
Easter lily

Pride goeth before a fall. I did not anticipate pre-Easter anxiety. I thought the weekend was all planned. I presumed too much—about myself and about my plans. During two years of blogging about grief and my snail-pace journey to reclaim joy, I have written repeatedly about those sinkholes called holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. They are tough markers for all who have lost loved ones. Widows, …

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A Kaleidoscope of Perceptions

February 23, 2017
kaleidoscope portrait

As a child, I loved to play with kaleidoscopes, fascinated by the ever-changing prisms as I twisted the lens. I have learned that people are like that. I see them—you see me—through different prisms, and often the images are distorted. We see the same person, we go to the same party, we listen to the same speech, we read the same book, and we walk …

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It Ain’t Gonna Happen

December 8, 2016
Christmas clutter

Last week, when I so smugly blogged about Allowing Time for Serendipity, I envisioned the perfect Christmas, organized in relaxed, leisurely fashion. Well, as we used to say back in Texarkana, “It ain’t gonna happen.” Not this year. Every room in my house is in about the same state as my library and bedroom; clutter everywhere, with more to pull out the closets when and if I manage …

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Want to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain?

November 19, 2016
bathroom scales

When I first started gaining weight in my 40s, I commented to an older, fatter friend, “It’s only five pounds.” “Yes, and if you gain five pounds a year, in seven years it will be 35 pounds. Look at me.” For most of us, the Holidays are to blame for the typical annual five-pound weight gain. How can we enjoy all the parties and special …

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You Can Go Home Again

November 17, 2016
Jackson Square

Memories of New Orleans Thomas Wolfe titled his 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, and my question was, “Can I go home to New Orleans without Lev?” No doubt I missed New Orleans, and I had gone back with close friends on his birthday in 2010, 11 months after his death. When he was still living, I went back alone at least twice; but …

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