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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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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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Resolved: To Be Healthy

January 19, 2017
Bartlett Farm truck

Most New Year’s Resolutions are goals to change. This year most of mine are not. As I prepare to officially enter the “fourth stage of life,” that period from 76 until death (a depressing subject I prefer to ignore), I am spending more time than usual evaluating where I am and where I want to be. I want to become more proactive in cultivating habits …

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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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Home Alone and (Almost) Ambulatory

January 17, 2016
leg propped on walker

Home alone. I managed to dodge my greatest fear for almost seven years—being sick at home by myself. Few widows want their children to physically care for them, but the alternatives seem worse to me—a stranger in my house who might rifle through my papers or steal small items, a rehab or extended care facility. I simply am not ready to be dependent! Actually, I …

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Family Unity Matters

November 1, 2015

Key 3: Seek unity and a shared purpose. Through the years I have heard the warning, “Be careful how you treat your children because they will pick your nursing home.” After Lev died, I needed my children desperately: Their blessings, their approval, and—most of all—their presence. I needed to feel needed. That surprised them. My daughter said later, “I never thought of you as a …

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