memoir

English Gardens in South Texas?

May 11, 2017
garden

Last week for the first time I was on Nantucket off-season—to celebrate daffodils, one of the first signs of spring on the island. While South Texas is already experiencing summer, with the temperature occasionally reaching 90 and spring flowers past their prime, Nantucket is at the very beginning of springtime, with bulbs and fruit trees and forsythia in full bloom. I will return at the …

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Resolved: To Nurture Relationships

January 26, 2017
Ralph Storm on friendship

When the idea of a memoir on grief was an unformed idea, long before I began to blog, when bffs surprised me with a birthday party and I celebrated a reunion with friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm, I reflected on the events and my reaction to them: If I have any wisdom from 73 years of living, five years a widow, it is this: NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS. NURTURE …

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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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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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How Do You Find Purpose in Life?

June 9, 2016
Girl Scout troop

When Lev died, I did not have a clue how to “do” widowhood. Books and advice from others were of little help. I looked at other widows in search of role models. Those who had built purposeful, fulfilling new lives encouraged me. If they could do it, so could I. Eventually, I found books that also inspired me—usually memoirs of grief, which told me that …

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Learning from Sheryl Sandberg

May 19, 2016

Who would guess that I have anything in common with Sheryl Sandberg, the brilliant, young, Jewish COO of Facebook? or with the 94-year-old Alzheimer victim in the London suburbs? We are all widows, sharing the universal language and experience of grief. In her recent speech to the University of California–Berkeley graduating class, Sandberg—widowed one year 13 days previously—described being “swallowed in the deep fog of …

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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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Easter Hope: Celebrating Resurrection

March 24, 2016
Horseshoe Bay

Part 1: The Spiritual Aspect of Grief Lev was buried on Maundy Thursday, seven years ago. It seems like yesterday…and a lifetime ago. The approach of Easter is much more a reminder to me of his death/my loss than the calendar date, April 7. While I have written often about those sinkholes called holidays, Easter is not a sinkhole for me, for the resurrection story …

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Pitching in the Elevator

October 20, 2015

I finally have my elevator pitch! Ever since I started writing 17 months ago, I have stammered when asked to describe my book. After I finished the fourth draft of the first chapter last winter, my independent editor told me it was time to get a website and start blogging, in preparation for writing my book proposal and finding a literary agent. As I began to …

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