sinkhole

Wanted: A Church to Call Home

October 26, 2017
Nantucket church steeple

The spiritual is one of the universal dimensions of grief, along with the physiological, psychological and social dimensions. What we believe—or don’t believe—affects how we grieve. I grew up seeing widows in the church, actively involved until very old age. I took for granted that the church would meet my spiritual and social needs when I was widowed; but as many other widows have found, …

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Hope for the Holidays

October 20, 2017
Christmas decor

…or would today’s blog be more appropriately titled, “Help! It’s the Holidays”? When Holiday promotions start showing up in the stores, when the days grow shorter, when daylight savings time ends, I am again reminded that I am approaching the time of year when I struggle to find joy. If you have experienced loss in the past year, if the Holidays this year will be …

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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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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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What to Do About Valentine Day?

February 9, 2017
wedding & funeral

Valentine Day—while not the sinkhole that Thanksgiving and Christmas, birthday and anniversary are—is still a day for widows to approach with caution and plan in advance. Or a day to stay home, order in a pizza and binge-watch old movies on Netflix. As Laura Amendola blogged in “Finding Your Path in the Month of Love”: “Sometimes seeing red hearts and cupids in the store windows …

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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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