loss

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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“Option A Is Not Available”

May 25, 2017
Option B-Sheryl Sandberg

A few weeks after her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in Mexico two years ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was confronted with an upcoming father-child event at her young son’s school. She discussed her options with a good friend. “We came up with a plan for someone to fill in for Dave. I cried to Phil, ‘But I want Dave.’ He put his arm around …

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Lessons Learned in Widowhood

April 20, 2017
I-press-on

Grace is the bottomless well of God’s unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness and pardon. It is the gift of unmerited favor. Those of us who receive His grace are bound to extend the same grace to others. And in the giving and receiving of grace, we find inner peace and peace with others. In our despair, we cannot imagine that life will ever be good again. …

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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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Our Values and Virtues Matter

August 26, 2016
Steps Beach, Nantucket

Several days ago I wrote what I envisioned as my next blog, “Eulogy Virtues Extraordinaire,” about the remarkable life and legacy of Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. But when I tried to categorize it—one of the essential steps of preparing a blog for the web—I realized it didn’t fit in any of my neat categories: Arts & Culture, Book Review, Cooking & Entertaining, Flowers …

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Never Tell a New Widow to Relax

August 18, 2016
Relaxed

I have just returned home after two months on Nantucket—my happy place, the place where I completely relax, where even writing a weekly blog slips to the bottom of my list of priorities. It took me four years to get to this place—literally and physically—and so I keep going back. If I were wiser, I could create this mental space anywhere; but telling me to …

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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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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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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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