children

David Rockefeller: A Worthy Role Model

April 6, 2017
Colonial Williamsburg

Lev died April 7, 2009—eight years ago tomorrow. There I was, unprepared for all that I must do, immediately confronted with practical and legal realities. Overnight, I moved from the role of smiling spouse and gracious hostess to that of executor, trustee, CEO and—most dreaded of all—matriarch. I am not sure that anyone had confidence in me. I certainly had none in myself. Because I …

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Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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You Can Go Home Again

November 17, 2016
Jackson Square

Memories of New Orleans Thomas Wolfe titled his 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, and my question was, “Can I go home to New Orleans without Lev?” No doubt I missed New Orleans, and I had gone back with close friends on his birthday in 2010, 11 months after his death. When he was still living, I went back alone at least twice; but …

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How Much Is Safe to Spend?

October 20, 2016
Pray for the best

The question raised in the headline nags at me. Should you save enough to live to 100? The subhead promises that “here are ways to insulate yourself against outliving your money”—everyone’s fear—but the recommendations are almost opposite those I received from my husband’s professional advisors after I became a widow in 2009. Instead, the writer seems to say, “Oh, chances are you won’t live that …

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Williamsburg, Perfect for the Holidays

October 18, 2016
Duke of Gloucester Street

If you are looking for the perfect place to celebrate the Holidays, look no further than Colonial Williamsburg. It is the only place I can imagine spending Thanksgiving or Christmas alone; and I know several childless couples who, after searching the country for that perfect place, return to CW year after year. I made my almost-annual visit to Colonial Williamsburg earlier this month. Most of …

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Do You Want to Reach 100?

October 13, 2016
Mamaw & Me at 65

“Don’t you want to live to 100?” younger travelers asked me on our recent trip to Japan. They seemed astonished that one might not want to live forever. I wasn’t sure how to answer their question. “If I am of reasonably good health—mentally and physically. If I don’t outlive my friends. If I don’t run out of money. If I don’t become a burden on …

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Searching for Your Happy Place?

October 4, 2016
My Happy Place

Home Alone on Nantucket Are you looking for your happy place? a place where you can escape the memories of your former life as half a couple and build a new life alone? I stumbled upon Nantucket four years after my husband’s death, not even knowing what I was looking for. I did not throw a dart at a U.S. map to pick my destination …

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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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The Siren Call of Never Never Land

July 28, 2016
Sunrise Over Nantucket

Nantucket—My Happy, Healthy, Healing Place I have found my Never Never Land and its name is Nantucket—a remote island once occupied by Native Americans, then claimed by Englishmen, home to pirates on occasion as well as to whaling captains who captured the imagine of Herman Melville. In many ways, it resembles the Never Never Land of J. M. Barrie’s imagination. And like Peter Pan, I …

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