spouse

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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Limits to My Freedom

September 10, 2015

I call it God’s compensation. The loss of a spouse is completely overwhelming. In place of that unique relationship, in place of that companionship, surviving spouses receive an enormous measure of freedom and independence. Like many women my age, I went from my parents’ home to my husband’s home. Except for a three-month internship at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in the summer of 1962, I …

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Dear Mr. Vice-President:

September 5, 2015

“In Mr. Biden’s first detailed public remarks on his 2016 plans, delivered Thursday night, he said the ‘most relevant factor’ in his consideration is his emotional health and that of his family, following the death of his son Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer in May at age 46.” WSJ, Sept. 5 Dear Mr. Vice-President: All but the most insensitive of your political opponents sympathize …

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God’s Compensation

July 23, 2015

I call it God’s compensation. The loss of a spouse is completely overwhelming. In place of that unique relationship, in place of that companionship, surviving spouses—if they are of sound mind and body and if finances permit—receive an enormous measure of freedom and independence. Like most women of my generation, I went from my parents’ home to my husband’s home. Except for a three-month internship …

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