dowager

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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Rehearsing for a Dowager Role

January 21, 2016
walking cane

One week after arthroscopic knee surgery, I have happily graduated from a walker to a cane. Not just any cane—an elegant, old, silver-headed cane that Lev occasionally carried the last years of his life. After his death, I ditched the functional, collapsible, ugly, aluminum cane he preferred but saved his more elegant walking canes for such a time as this. While I have too much …

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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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