spouse

Figuring Out Finances After Loss

July 15, 2018
woman with spreadsheet

Though my memoir, Reclaiming Joy, addresses all aspects of grief—emotional, physical, social, spiritual and financial—I rarely blog about the financial challenges we face when we find ourselves suddenly single, whether by death or divorce. However, the headline of a recent Next Avenue post caught my eye: Picking Up the Financial Pieces After Divorce Younger divorced women repeatedly tell me that I describe them when I …

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Life’s a Beach … but What Kind of Beach?

May 10, 2018

This whole, long process of publication—from the time the Baylor University Press offered me a contract for RECLAIMING JOY almost a year ago—has been a nonstop education for me. Who would think it would take so long to birth a book? Delivery date is September 14, with a book launch at Baylor. That’s a very long pregnancy. Cover design did not take quite so long, …

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LIVE WELL, Look Good, Travel Light

April 19, 2018
Ella at Roman ruins, Bordeaux

We all want to live well, though each of us—at different periods in our lives—defines living well differently. My friends and I resist the idea that we might be old—“I don’t feel old!”—but as a long-ago newspaper reporter, I know too well if I get hit by a car when I am crossing the street, the headline will read, “Elderly woman hit by car.” Many …

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From Smiling Spouse to CEO

July 13, 2017

On April 9, 2009, I was transformed in an instant from smiling spouse and gracious hostess to executor, trustee, CEO and client. I am not sure that anyone had confidence in me. I certainly had none in myself. Through the years, Lev repeatedly told me that I did not need to know his business because “they will be here for you.” They were not. He …

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Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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Where’s Home?

June 1, 2017
google earth

What sort of images does home conjure up for you? Is it where you currently live or where you grew up? How much is it based on length of time and how much on your memories and the people you shared your home with? Home usually seems to mean “where I grew up, where my roots are, where my family lives.” When adults say “I’m …

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Resolved: To Nurture Relationships

January 26, 2017
Ralph Storm on friendship

When the idea of a memoir on grief was an unformed idea, long before I began to blog, when bffs surprised me with a birthday party and I celebrated a reunion with friend-like-a-brother Ralph Storm, I reflected on the events and my reaction to them: If I have any wisdom from 73 years of living, five years a widow, it is this: NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS. NURTURE …

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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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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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Widow on Wall Street

September 29, 2015

I spent my first day in New York at my bank’s Investor Day, not something I was likely to do before 2009. About 200 people were in the room to hear top analysts, bankers and portfolio managers discuss finance and investments. Less than 10 percent of the attendees, including bank staff, were women. Were all of those men widowed or divorced? Where were their wives? …

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