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Writing in the Long Form

Three weeks from today, I will be sitting at a table in the Waco Convention Center autographing copies of my memoir, Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows, for the very first time; and I will have my book to add to my bookshelf. How naive I was when I started! Earlier this…

 

LIVE WELL, Look Good, Travel Light

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…

 

Oh, Jane, Where Were You When I Needed You?

A couple of months ago, I met my very successful young author-cousin for lunch. Susan came into the bistro, sat down, propped her chin on her clasped hands and asked, “Do you realize how extraordinary it is to have your first book published when you are 77?” “Yes.” But I…

 

From Smiling Spouse to CEO

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…

 

Searching for Your Happy Place?

Home Alone on Nantucket Are you looking for your happy place? a place where you can escape the memories of your former life as half a couple and build a new life alone? I stumbled upon Nantucket four years after my husband’s death, not even knowing what I was looking…

 

Whatever Happened to 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….