spouse

From Smiling Spouse to CEO

July 13, 2017

On April 9, 2009, I was transformed in an instant from smiling spouse and gracious hostess to executor, trustee, CEO and client. I am not sure that anyone had confidence in me. I certainly had none in myself. Through the years, Lev repeatedly told me that I did not need to know his business because “they will be here for you.” They were not. He …

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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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Where’s Home?

June 1, 2017
google earth

What sort of images does home conjure up for you? Is it where you currently live or where you grew up? How much is it based on length of time and how much on your memories and the people you shared your home with? Home usually seems to mean “where I grew up, where my roots are, where my family lives.” When adults say “I’m …

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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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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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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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Widow on Wall Street

September 29, 2015

I spent my first day in New York at my bank’s Investor Day, not something I was likely to do before 2009. About 200 people were in the room to hear top analysts, bankers and portfolio managers discuss finance and investments. Less than 10 percent of the attendees, including bank staff, were women. Were all of those men widowed or divorced? Where were their wives? …

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Limits to My Freedom

September 10, 2015

I call it God’s compensation. The loss of a spouse is completely overwhelming. In place of that unique relationship, in place of that companionship, surviving spouses receive an enormous measure of freedom and independence. Like many women my age, I went from my parents’ home to my husband’s home. Except for a three-month internship at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in the summer of 1962, I …

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Dear Mr. Vice-President:

September 5, 2015

“In Mr. Biden’s first detailed public remarks on his 2016 plans, delivered Thursday night, he said the ‘most relevant factor’ in his consideration is his emotional health and that of his family, following the death of his son Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer in May at age 46.” WSJ, Sept. 5 Dear Mr. Vice-President: All but the most insensitive of your political opponents sympathize …

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God’s Compensation

July 23, 2015

I call it God’s compensation. The loss of a spouse is completely overwhelming. In place of that unique relationship, in place of that companionship, surviving spouses—if they are of sound mind and body and if finances permit—receive an enormous measure of freedom and independence. Like most women of my generation, I went from my parents’ home to my husband’s home. Except for a three-month internship …

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