gratitude

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 Count My Blessings

January 12, 2017
Philippians 4:6

In my grief after Lev’s death, I could not imagine that life would ever be good again. I moved from despair when I started living in gratitude mode—counting my blessings, continually saying thank you, God. Only then was I able to find joy in my memories of the past and—eventually—in my anticipation of the future. I began to take time before lunch every day to …

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Seeking Peace in Troubled Times

November 24, 2016
Philippians 4:8

As we gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, the words of the Apostle Paul seem more relevant than ever. I first reflected on his advice December 13, 2015, and I have returned to it over and over during the ugly election campaign. Now I am reminding myself to seek peace first of all with those I love most. That begins with me. After I …

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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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12 Keys to Reclaiming Joy

October 6, 2016
1 Ph 1-92 Ph 1-103 Ph 2.24 Ph 2-45 Ph 2-146  Ph 2-29Advent wreath illuminated by candlelight8  Ph 4-69 Ph 4-810 Ph 4-1111 Ph 4-1312 Ph 4-18

Weekly Meditations to Prepare Your Heart for the Holidays paraphrased from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi With wisdom and discernment, grow in love for others. 1:9 “Love…Knowledge…Discernment” Be sincere and blameless, approving all that is excellent. 1:10 “Sincere…Blameless…Excellent” Seek unity and a shared purpose. 2:2 “Family Unity Matters” Look out for others’ best interests, not only your own. 2:4 “De Tocqueville’s Advice for Widows” Do all things without grumbling …

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Learning from Sheryl Sandberg

May 19, 2016

Who would guess that I have anything in common with Sheryl Sandberg, the brilliant, young, Jewish COO of Facebook? or with the 94-year-old Alzheimer victim in the London suburbs? We are all widows, sharing the universal language and experience of grief. In her recent speech to the University of California–Berkeley graduating class, Sandberg—widowed one year 13 days previously—described being “swallowed in the deep fog of …

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Memoirs Help Normalize Grief

May 5, 2016
On My Own

Grief experts agree that widows get too much advice—too many people telling them how to grieve, how long to grieve, when to make decisions, when to move on. What works for one person may not work for another. There is no single right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a spouse. Nevertheless, most books on grief are how-to books written in second-person. Self-help …

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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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Gratitude > Generosity > Joy

January 24, 2016
Key 12 Ph. 4:18

Key 12 to reclaiming joy: Be generous in sharing with others. Since October I have worked my way through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, examining 12 keys to moving from grief to joy. These keys are not simply principles. Paul provides an order—a road map—for moving from discouragement to joy. His letter opens with his gratitude to the Philippians for their …

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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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