holiday

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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Allowing Time for Serendipity

December 1, 2016
serendipity

My motto for widowhood is “Say Yes!” but in my frantic attempts over the past seven-plus years to stay too busy for sad and bad memories to take root, I have stayed too busy, too organized and structured, too proactive to react and say yes to last-minute invitations that promised joy-filled moments with family and friends. And sometimes I have said yes to things that …

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Autumn Anxiety Is Real

September 22, 2016

The Huffington Post headline proclaims, “Autumn Anxiety Is Real, And Treatable.” Huh? I never knew that the onset of shorter days could trigger a definable anxiety disorder. Until Lev died, I never paid much attention to the length of days, the hours of sunlight. Unlike most parts of the country, in South Texas fall holds the promise of a break in the heat, when we …

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Mothers and Daughters

August 4, 2016
Mirror, mirror on the wall

After my husband died, I worried about my future. I had been robbed of the most significant person in my life. And every holiday, every major life event where Lev was absent was a new robbery, new bereavement. The losses kept coming, and our family was not prepared. Nobody warned us that death was only the first loss. When I did not fall apart immediately …

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Those Sinkholes Called Holidays

July 3, 2016
fine artMurraryBeach St. storeBeach St. t-shirt shopBroad St. shopChildrenyouth violinist 1home shopMain St. with its cobblestone street & gas lightsLady LibertyLilly 1Lilly 2Main St. storeMitchellyouth violinist #2Nina McLemoreRalph Laurenthe ice cream shopWhite Elephant restaurantharbor--with the lights on masts of tall sailboats

More than six years later, I still panic at the thought of holidays as a widow…without Lev. Frankly, nothing can make me happy, because I want the holidays to be like they used to be–when he was alive. Joyce Carol Oates named them well–sinkholes–and the poet Elizabeth Alexander used the word in her memoir of grief as well. The word is apt. I’m going along, …

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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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Mrs. Claus Throws a Pity Party

December 27, 2015
Strength Philippians 4:13

Key 11: Claim God’s promise that you can do all things through Him who gives you strength. As a widow recovering from loss, I discovered that the mind knows before the heart accepts. Perhaps that is what Elisabeth Kübler-Ross meant when she listed denial as one of the stages of grief. I never denied the fact that Lev was dead. That was indisputable. However, accepting …

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Reminders of Jean: Pumpkin Bread & Forgotten Cookies

November 24, 2015
Jean Storm

Jean Storm was one of the saints of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; wife of Lev’s long-time partner and friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm; mother of Susan and Kathy; grandmother to Morgan, Sarah, Julia, David and Mary. And my friend. I counted myself blessed to be on the receiving end of the Storms’ generosity. Chief among Jean’s many gifts were her hospitality and her ministry to the …

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Coping With the Empty Chair

November 5, 2015
empty chair

Lev’s empty chair illustrated the family’s differences as we worked our way through grief. When friends came to call after they learned of his death, my children clenched their fists as other people unknowingly sat in their dad’s chair. When our family of nine was alone in the library, they squeezed as two family groups into the pair of flanking couches, leaving Lev’s chair empty. …

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Green Bean Casserole 3 Ways

October 27, 2015

When I decided to kick off my holiday recipes with my mother’s green bean casserole, I was surprised to discover that her recipe has more ingredients than the versions I found online. That may explain why her version is so good. When I was a child, we did not have fresh vegetables year round. I remember when Mama and my aunts started sharing recipes for …

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