celebration

Banishing the Ghosts of Christmas Past

November 30, 2018
Ghosts of Christmas Past

Lev relished the persona of being gruff and grumpy, and he welcomed the grandchildren’s nickname for him—Grumps. Come Christmas, he played the role to the hilt when they were around, going around muttering, “Bah! Humbug!” like Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As choreographer of our Christmas rituals and traditions, I encouraged him, setting the stage with Dickens-themed Holiday decorations. We remember the story: …

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You Don’t Have to Be Home Alone on the Holidays

November 23, 2018
December anniversary dinner

How do you handle life’s transitions as the older generations age and the young ones grow up and marry? How do you maintain family connections, especially those time-honored holiday traditions and rituals? The aggrieved, widowed sister wrote Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist: Our extended family—siblings and kids—has always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she …

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Ready to Party?

November 15, 2018
Dinner for 3

Tennyson may be right that “In the Spring a young man’s [and woman’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”[1]; but in my stage of life, fall too often turns my mind to thoughts of loss. The shortened days depress me. While I thought nothing of going out after dark with Lev, nine autumns later I am still uncomfortably surprised by the darkness when I …

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Home Alone: With Whom Do I Celebrate?

June 28, 2018
Rejoice with those who rejoice

As a new widow, I had to accept and acknowledge my limitations and embrace my new role if I was to reclaim joy. I did not like my new status—widow—neither the circumstances that made me a widow nor the images the word conjured up. I envisioned sad, lonely old ladies, living on their memories, dependent on others to take care of them. That was not …

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Commemorating Death, Hoping for Resurrection

April 5, 2018
Church at Horseshoe Bay

For the past nine years—ten Easters now—I have observed the anniversary of Lev’s death in the midst of Easter anticipation and celebration. This is a time of year when the church calendar overrides those dates in April when Lev died and was buried…and when I assumed the unwanted role of widow. I can never say never, for last spring I surprised myself by my dread …

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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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The Parable of Two Sons

August 3, 2017
mother and son

Once there were two elderly, affluent widows whose oldest sons served as executors of their fathers’ wills and as trustees responsible for managing their mothers’ finances. Each son was the mature, responsible, oldest child in his family. Both women lived for decades after their husbands’ deaths. One widow complained, “I can’t buy a new outfit without asking my son’s permission.” The other widow happily traveled …

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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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Celebrating the 12th Day of Christmas

January 5, 2016
Traditional King Cake

Tomorrow is Epiphany…Twelfth Night…the Twelfth Day of Christmas on the liturgical calendar, when the Church celebrates the coming of the Kings to visit the baby Jesus. While scholars tell us that it is more likely that Jesus was a toddler living in a house with Mary and Joseph when the wise men came, my mental picture is still that of the kings with their gifts, …

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Mrs. Claus Throws a Pity Party

December 27, 2015
Strength Philippians 4:13

Key 11: Claim God’s promise that you can do all things through Him who gives you strength. As a widow recovering from loss, I discovered that the mind knows before the heart accepts. Perhaps that is what Elisabeth Kübler-Ross meant when she listed denial as one of the stages of grief. I never denied the fact that Lev was dead. That was indisputable. However, accepting …

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