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Those Sinkholes Called Holidays

July 3, 2016
fine artMurraryBeach St. storeBeach St. t-shirt shopBroad St. shopChildrenyouth violinist 1home shopMain St. with its cobblestone street & gas lightsLady LibertyLilly 1Lilly 2Main St. storeMitchellyouth violinist #2Nina McLemoreRalph Laurenthe ice cream shopWhite Elephant restaurantharbor--with the lights on masts of tall sailboats

More than six years later, I still panic at the thought of holidays as a widow…without Lev. Frankly, nothing can make me happy, because I want the holidays to be like they used to be–when he was alive. Joyce Carol Oates named them well–sinkholes–and the poet Elizabeth Alexander used the word in her memoir of grief as well. The word is apt. I’m going along, …

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Helen: My Role Model for Widowhood

May 26, 2016
Helen

I never guessed that Helen, my mother-in-law, would become my role model for widowhood. Lev’s dad was killed in a plane crash when Lev was only 13 and his mother 39. About 18 months later, Helen married Russell; and for more than 20 years, they enjoyed the good life together. Then, in her early 60s, she was widowed again. I recalled her announcement shortly after …

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Safe Solo Travel to London

May 12, 2016
Roosevelt & Churchill

Today, on my second day in London, I reread my 14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel, which I posted last September. I am surprised by how many items on the list I did instinctively as I prepared for this trip. Seven years later, solo travel comes naturally. Find a friend with similar interests and budget OR join a nonprofit organization with a strong travel program …

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13 Ways to Prepare for Widowhood

February 11, 2016
until death do us part

Absolutely no one (except possibly fortune hunters who marry older men for their money) wants to consider the prospect of widowhood. We are all in denial. It as if by refusing to acknowledge the possibility, we shake our fists in the face of the gods. But the facts are undeniable: The most recent American Community Survey, published in 2014, estimates that there are almost twenty-five …

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Life Lesson #2: Get Dressed

January 27, 2016
Power perceived

Last month I wrote a blog titled “Life Lesson #1: Make Up Your Bed,” based on Adm. William H. McRaven’s speech, “Life Lessons from Navy SEAL Training.” I said that new widows are challenged just to get out of bed each morning, let alone make up the bed. This week I have realized that it applies to physical as well as psychological struggles. I cannot …

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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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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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Taking Care of Me

December 16, 2015
Christmas tea

Today, I will take very good care of myself. I have carefully planned my day. I have six years experience commemorating my wedding anniversary by myself. Anniversaries and birthdays, like holidays, are sinkholes for widows; so I am not leaving anything to chance. After an early morning routine doctor’s appointment (scheduled by the doctor’s office, not by me), I will take a bouquet of Christmas …

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Reminders of Jean: Pumpkin Bread & Forgotten Cookies

November 24, 2015
Jean Storm

Jean Storm was one of the saints of First Baptist Church, Corpus Christi; wife of Lev’s long-time partner and friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm; mother of Susan and Kathy; grandmother to Morgan, Sarah, Julia, David and Mary. And my friend. I counted myself blessed to be on the receiving end of the Storms’ generosity. Chief among Jean’s many gifts were her hospitality and her ministry to the …

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Cranberries: For Sauce and for Breakfast

November 19, 2015
CRANBERRIES

Cranberries date back to the Pilgrims. One can imagine that the Indians brought them to that first Thanksgiving meal in 1620. Having now visited Nantucket for three consecutive summers, eating chocolate covered cranberries and imagining autumn, when the island turns red from the cranberry bogs, I appreciate cranberries more than ever. I added French toast casserole with cranberries to my holiday menu last year. This …

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