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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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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Friends: An Unexpected Loss

April 21, 2016
with friends in Nantucket

The Social Aspect of Grief Ours had been a social world of couples, and our friends and acquaintances called within a month or two after Lev’s death to invite me out to dinner. Sometimes, these turned out to be one-time obligatory gestures. Just as we had not thought to mix singles and couples in our social life, not all of our old friends continued to …

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Happy Birthday to Me!

March 17, 2016

I have lived to see three-quarters of a century go by, for today is my 75th birthday. Unlike those special days I associate with Lev, this is not a sinkhole. Because my birthday falls during Texas Spring Break—with my children and their families on different school calendars, going in different directions—we don’t have a tradition of gathering every year. In many ways that is a …

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Celebrating Lev’s Birthday

March 3, 2016
top of the mountain

I have made it over that mountain of immediate grief, loss and aloneness—past the minefields, through the sinkholes, around the boulders that made the climb so arduous. I have not emerged unscathed, inadvertently injuring myself and others along the way. Now the road is mostly wide and smooth in front of me, just an occasional rough spot, boring stretch or sinkhole to trip me up. …

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The Tradition of Santa Mouse

December 29, 2015
Santa Mouse

When I die, my children won’t fight over who gets the family silver. They will fight over Santa Mouse. That’s pretty typical in families. Good memories are more important than monetary value. In 1967 the Christmas theme of J.C. Penney’s children’s department was Santa Mouse—a picture book, pajamas and a huge stuffed mouse in the display window. Our first child was eight months  old. On Christmas Eve, in a …

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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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A Christmas Decree

December 24, 2015
Christmas 2009

That first Christmas as a widow was a challenge, and I kept the decorations quiet—mostly green and white. Instead of putting the leaves in the table, as I did when there were 10 of us, I squeezed us all close together, avoiding an empty chair. And on Christmas morning, in anticipation of the family celebration, I issued a Christmas decree: Whereas, Grumps personified the spirit …

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Two Traditional Christmas Pies

December 22, 2015
pecan pie

Lev’s aunt lived in nearby Rockport, and whenever she came to see us, she brought two pecan pies and an old-fashioned date cake. Her pie recipe is the best I’ve ever had, rich and custardy, with more butter and eggs than most. It calls for a full cup of butter, four times the typical recipe. Oddly, my daughter-in-law makes a better pie than I. When …

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

December 20, 2015
Philippians 4:11

Key 10: Be content, whatever your circumstances. A young friend dropped by to invite me to participate in a major fundraiser for the local hospital. When I thanked her for her involvement in the community, she said, “I had some difficulty when we first moved here, but someone advised me to bloom where I am planted.” As a college student I dreamed of going to …

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