loss

“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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Celebrating Lev’s Birthday

March 3, 2016
top of the mountain

I have made it over that mountain of immediate grief, loss and aloneness—past the minefields, through the sinkholes, around the boulders that made the climb so arduous. I have not emerged unscathed, inadvertently injuring myself and others along the way. Now the road is mostly wide and smooth in front of me, just an occasional rough spot, boring stretch or sinkhole to trip me up. …

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The Tradition of Santa Mouse

December 29, 2015
Santa Mouse

When I die, my children won’t fight over who gets the family silver. They will fight over Santa Mouse. That’s pretty typical in families. Good memories are more important than monetary value. In 1967 the Christmas theme of J.C. Penney’s children’s department was Santa Mouse—a picture book, pajamas and a huge stuffed mouse in the display window. Our first child was eight months  old. On Christmas Eve, in a …

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