children

The Winters of Our Lives

August 24, 2017
winter

What a surprise! What a blessing! And what a learning experience for me. Last month on Nantucket, I led a conversation on moving from discouragement and loss to joy during four Tuesday afternoons of Porchtime at the Parsonage. Our small group turned to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians for inspiration and practical advice as we admitted our own struggles and shared our efforts …

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The Parable of Two Sons

August 3, 2017
mother and son

Once there were two elderly, affluent widows whose oldest sons served as executors of their fathers’ wills and as trustees responsible for managing their mothers’ finances. Each son was the mature, responsible, oldest child in his family. Both women lived for decades after their husbands’ deaths. One widow complained, “I can’t buy a new outfit without asking my son’s permission.” The other widow happily traveled …

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Where’s Home?

June 1, 2017
google earth

What sort of images does home conjure up for you? Is it where you currently live or where you grew up? How much is it based on length of time and how much on your memories and the people you shared your home with? Home usually seems to mean “where I grew up, where my roots are, where my family lives.” When adults say “I’m …

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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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David Rockefeller: A Worthy Role Model

April 6, 2017
Colonial Williamsburg

Lev died April 7, 2009—eight years ago tomorrow. There I was, unprepared for all that I must do, immediately confronted with practical and legal realities. Overnight, I moved from the role of smiling spouse and gracious hostess to that of executor, trustee, CEO and—most dreaded of all—matriarch. I am not sure that anyone had confidence in me. I certainly had none in myself. Because I …

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Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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Looking Backward, Looking Forward

December 29, 2016
looking both ways

My Christmas push is over, and I have the gift of three weeks to spend reflecting on this past year and planning the next. New Year’s Resolutions are fairly new for me. For 46 years, life revolved around husband and children, and I felt little need to set life goals and priorities. Importantly, Lev assumed so many responsibilities—business, finance, insurance, cars—and was always willing to …

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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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How Much Is Safe to Spend?

October 20, 2016
Pray for the best

The question raised in the headline nags at me. Should you save enough to live to 100? The subhead promises that “here are ways to insulate yourself against outliving your money”—everyone’s fear—but the recommendations are almost opposite those I received from my husband’s professional advisors after I became a widow in 2009. Instead, the writer seems to say, “Oh, chances are you won’t live that …

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