Widow

Writing in the Long Form

August 23, 2018
writers bookshelf

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 week I scrolled through my old blogs just to be sure I don’t repeat myself …

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Does the Entry Say “Welcome”?

August 5, 2018
First Congregational Church

Last week I decided to take a self-guided walking tour of Nantucket’s historic churches, something I haven’t done since my first extended visit in 2014. As I paused to study the front of the churches—Baptist, Episcopal, Unitarian, Quaker, Catholic, Methodist and Congregational—I found myself examining them through landscape architect Gordon Hayward’s eyes. Do the entries say “welcome”? Is it easy to identify the main entry? …

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Time to Think About Your Summer Garden

July 25, 2018
Nantucket garden

Gardening is a joy I reclaimed after Lev’s death; and since I started coming to Nantucket, I have sought to transform my South Texas garden to a traditional New England or English cottage garden. Each summer I look for new ideas—new ways to garden at home. When we are holed up in our air-conditioned homes and the temperature outside hovers near 100 degrees, thinking about …

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Who Is the Adult in the Room?

July 8, 2018
Philippians 4:8

The old Washington political cliché has taken on new meaning and new life recently, generally referring to character and behavior rather than policy decisions. But the term has resonated with me in a totally nonpolitical way. I often find myself in situations where a tiny voice in my head reminds me, “Be the adult in the room.” Somehow, that message is more effective in curbing …

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Home Alone: With Whom Do I Celebrate?

June 28, 2018
Rejoice with those who rejoice

As a new widow, I had to accept and acknowledge my limitations and embrace my new role if I was to reclaim joy. I did not like my new status—widow—neither the circumstances that made me a widow nor the images the word conjured up. I envisioned sad, lonely old ladies, living on their memories, dependent on others to take care of them. That was not …

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I’ve Come Full Circle on Nantucket

June 14, 2018
Sunday-Nantucket waterfront

My life has come full circle in the past five years, and it’s appropriate that I end this period of life where I began it—on Nantucket. My first visit as a widow was in August 2013—four days at the end of a small-ship cruise along the coast of Maine. I originally planned to spend a week, but I was afraid to be completely alone for …

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Not Quite Solo Travel in the Dordogne

May 17, 2018
Dordogne River

If there is any place in the world that I want to see, if I want to go badly enough, I can make it happen! Last month I checked a driving trip through the Dordogne, Vézère and Lot river valleys of southwestern France off the top of my bucket list—a trip Lev and I first planned in 1990 and one I thought I would never make …

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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, III

May 3, 2018
woman with luggage

Widows often find ourselves encumbered by too much baggage. We were accustomed to husbands who carried more than their share. I had more practice than many, for throughout our marriage I occasionally traveled alone or with friends. Then, as Lev’s health declined, I became the partner with major responsibility for the baggage. I was responsible not only for our suitcases but also for much of …

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Live Well, LOOK GOOD, Travel Light, II

April 26, 2018
My mother-in-law at my age

In August 2011—almost 17 months after Lev’s death—I took my first big step in traveling alone, as a widow. I flew to London, then took the train to Edinburgh, another first for me. On my arrival, I walked into a pre-dinner reception at the hotel to meet 40 strangers who would be my travel companions on the Royal Scotsman for the next week. Only four …

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