Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A True Christmas Stofry of Love and Courage (I post this every year)

A guy named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty

apartment window into the chilly December night. His 4-year-old

daughter, Barbara, sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bobs wife, Evelyn,

was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy

could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked,

"Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw

tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of

grief but also of anger.

 It was the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Being

small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too

little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather

not remember.

From childhood Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did

complete college and married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job

as a copywriterat Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he

was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with

cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter

were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn

died just days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child for whom he couldn't even afford to

buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to

make one--a storybook.

Bob had created the animal character in his own mind and told the animal's

story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob

told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the

character? What was the story about?

The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The

character he created was an outcast like he was. The name of the character?

A little reindeer named Rudolph with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas


But the story doesn't end there. The general manager of Montgomery Ward

caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to

purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print the book and

distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards

had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph the Red

Nosed Reindeer. That same year a major publisher wanted to purchase the

rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book. In an

unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all

rights back to Bob May.

The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and

Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from

the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter.

But the story doesn't end there. Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a

song adaptation of Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such

popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by Gene

Autrey. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and

became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other

Christmas song with the exception of "White Christmas." The gift of

love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning to

bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his

dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad. In fact, being different

can be a blessing.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Ten Things That Make Me Happy #6

I love to travel.  I admit I'm not an adventurous traveler.  I don't hike or ski or go many places on my own. 

When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to trips.  We'd get up early, in the cool just before summer dawn, pile into our car and head off...through the prairies to visit relatives in Omaha, to the beginning of the Rockies in El Paso, across the desert to Los Angeles,  We visited museums in Chicago, gazed in awe at New York skyscrapers and at Niagara Falls.  Along the way on these journeys my sister and I fought over who would get to lie down in the back seat and who had to sit and look out the window.  Once we got into a fight at Gettysburg because I, a civil war aficionado, wanted to walk through the battlefield and she, thinking about her current boyfriend at home, wanted to move on.  She hauled off and slapped me.

We made occasional train trips.  On one memorable one we slept together in the top bunk and, tossing in my sleep, I hit her and gave her a black eye.  My mother was mortified.

The lure of travel persists.  My husband and I took a cruise to my number one dream destination, Antarctica, land of ice and penguins and, I reminded him, no shopping.  We went to Alaska, to New England for fall foliage, to Hawaii for a speech pathology convention where he took scuba lessons and I actually attended lectures. 

I've been to Troy, the top place on my bucket list.  I took Latin in high school from a teacher so inspiring that her students raised the money to send her on a trip to Rome.
My sister and I no longer fight; we enjoy traveling together and have an ongoing Scrabble tournament for down times.  Next spring I'm hoping to join my daughter at a convention in Banff, another place I've always wanted to go.

Travel gives me the chance to visit iconic places, see how other people live, shop of course, learn about history and politics and penguins and llamas.  Mention a trip and I'm ready to go.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy: #5

I looove ice cream, especially Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream.  Feeling lonely, sad, under the weather...ice cream cheers me.  Feeling happy, celebratory, elated...ice cream adds to the celebration.  I grade airports by whether they have a Ben and Jerry's in the concourse I'm in.  I actually found a Haagen Dazs shop at DFW and ate a scoop of coffee cream for breakfast.  I've eaten gelato in Italy, sorbet in France.  I've eaten Blue Bell pumpkin spice at Thanksgiving peppermint at Christmas.  Nothing compares to coffee.  I highly recommend it, but I do suggest you not binge on it like I do.  I can easily finish a pint in a sitting.  Not good for the waistline but perfect for your spirits.  Enjoy.  And check out the Haagen Dazs gelato commercial on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Quote for the Week

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.
General George S. Patton

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy #4

When I was a kid, I was afraid of cats.  That changed many years later when my daughter, who was out on the street training her dog to heel, heard a little meow behind her and found a small tabby kitten who was obviously lost.  We brought him inside and gave him some milk, and the next day I took him to work with me, hoping that someone would take him home.  But by the end of the day I'd fallen in love and he came home with me.  We named him Ringo and he was the first in a long line of wonderful cats who shared our home. 
My beloved Toby, a tuxedo cat who comforted me through my husband's illness and my widowhood, died last year, I said I didn't want to think about another cat. After a Sunday brunch for my birthday my daughter remarked that she'd like to go and visit an dog adoption place whose director she knew.  Right next door was...surprise...a cat adoption place.  She suggested I go in and look around and that's how I met Mango, the newest love of my life.  (He had me at "meow.")
As you can see, he's an orange cat, hence the name he came with, and he likes to roll over on his back, put up his paws and meow.  That's how he lets he know he's hungry.  Like most orange cats, he's very friendly.  He's pretty cuddly, too.  He'll lie in the crook of my arm purring and reach a paw up to touch my face.  So sweet.
So once again I have a cat in my life to keep me company, make me laugh and seemingly on his own, support the company that makes Fancy Feast cat food.
Take care, and stop back next week for #5.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Website Review: Writing it Real

Writing It Real, website of Sheila Bender, is a treasure trove of information for writers.  Sheila offers articles, videos, contests, personal coaching and (my favorite) classes on writing.  I've taken her personal essay class three times.  It's on-line so I can take it in my pajamas, with no make-up and my cat on my lap on a bad hair day.  Sheila has a unique style of critique for her students to follow as they read one another's writing:
1. List "Velcro words--words or phrases from the essay that stuck with you;
2. Mention what you liked about the essay, how it affected you;
3. List questions that may guide the writer in rethinking or adding to the essay.
Whether you're a beginning writer or one with extensive experience, you'll find something of value in this website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quote for the Week

                              Enthusiasm is contagious.  Be a carrier.    Susan Rabin

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy #3

This is my granddaughter Gabriella on her sixteenth birthday.  She's the light of my life, and was from the moment she was born.  I swore I would not watch the birth...no way...but I agreed to come in for a few minutes.  In the room were my son, my daughter-in-law's mother and her sister.  If they could view the birth, I thought, so could I, but I sat down on the floor, just in case I felt faint.  I didn't.  I felt awed, euphoric...I'd witnessed a miracle. 

Ralph and I went out for lunch and came back in the afternoon.  And what was my first question after I'd made sure everyone was fine?.  I wanted to know her Apgar score.  You can tell from that I work with small children.  Her score was 9, very high. and I went back to the room reassured.

From that day on, Gabby has been one of my greatest joys.  She's smart (of course.  What else would a grandmother say?)  To my delight (I'm a speech pathologist, after all), she started talking early.  Not surprisingly, her first word was "cat." 

Early on, she showed a great imagination and often made up stories.  When her grandfather was hospitalized with leukemia. she wrote stories for him.  One of his last wishes was to see Gabriella before he died.  "I hope she won't forget me," he said after her visit.  When I repeated that to her several months after he died, Gabriella said, "Of course I won't forget him.  I loved him."  How touched he would have been at that remark.

Gabriella is not only smart, but she's perceptive, empathetic...and also stubborn at times and she has become a typical teenager. I'm enjoying watching her grow up.  No, she isn't perfect, but she's fun...and she's MY granddaughter, and I love her more than I can say.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Quotes for the Week of Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

 Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. ~Robert Caspar Lintner

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. ~Native American Saying

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. ~Seneca

All that we behold is full of blessings. ~William Wordsworth

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~W.T. Purkiser

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ten Things that Make Me Happy: #2

Winter mornings can be dreary; summer mornings can be stifling and when you wake up alone after a long and happy marriage, any morning can be gloomy.  But I'm fortunate because once I'm up and dressed, I get to spend many of my mornings doing speech therapy at the Bertha Alyce Campus, the preschool at the Jewish Community Center in Houston.  Who could feel anything but joy, walking down the hall at BAC? 

Artwork and photographs and classroom stories splash color all over the walls. The sound of children's laughter (and sometimes tears at parting from Mommy) fill the air.  And sometimes the smell of popcorn or cookies baking wafts to my nose.

This is a place where teachers engage children in activities that stimulate creativity as well as encourage learning,  Last year one of the pre-k classes learned about famous artists and did paintings in their various styles, then invited parents to their "museum" to view their work.  I made a special trip back to the J to visit the museum and was amazed at the children's work and their poise at presenting it to their families,

  Last week the two-year-olds were learning about transportation.  When they focused on cars, they had a class car wash...yes, an actual car wash.  When I left the building, I saw them busily washing their teacher's car.  Will they ever forget about cars?  Not a chance.

I feel lucky to be able to work there with children who have speech and language issues.  Even though I'm not actually on their staff, I feel very much at home and look forward to spending time there.

Stop back next week for #3 in my "What Makes Me Happy" posts. 

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quote for the Week

Music is what feelings sound like.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ten Things that Make me Happy: #1

Widowhood isn't easy.  It's sad, it's lonely.  But you have to find the good things in life as you trudge on alone.  Your late spouse would want that, wouldn't s/he?  So I've decided to spend the next ten Mondays writing about things that brighten my life.

Here's the first.  Ever since I was a Brownie in second grade, I've belonged to groups--Girl Scouts (yes, I sold cookies), drama club, sorority, women's organizations  professional organizations and in recent years a group of women transition.  They're not necessarily widows, but they're all moving on with their lives, trying to make the best of the years ahead.  Within that group are interest groups.  One that I belong to is The Word Group.

What does a Word Group do?  Each meeting we discuss a word, what it means, how it affects us, etc.  Our first word was Wisdom--we couldn't come up with a definition that encompassed all our ideas.  The second was Memory, and our most recent was Story.  We talked about the stories we tell ourselves and others, how different people tell different stories of the same event, how stories change over time, whether our personal stories have themes.  It was a fascinating discussion and I think, through it, the six of us bonded as we probed deeper into the meaning of Story.  The next time we meet, our word will be Home.

Both the small group and the larger group inspire me, cheer me, make me think, make me laugh.  May all of you find a group of friends to give you joy.

Stay tuned for #2 next week.  And if you'd like to chime in about things that make you happy, please do so.

Take care,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quote for the Week: Novmeber poem in a calendar of cat poetry

Did you hear that noise?
That horrible crash!
What was that calamitous commotion?
It was in that room,
The one I'm not in,
From which came such a loud detonation.
Could it be an ogre,
A monster or three
That plans for us some great laceration?
You know it was me
Knocking your lamp to the floor,
Anything good on television?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Books of October

Didn't read as much as usual this month.  But here are my evaluations of the two books I did finish.

Yes, Wonder is a children's book, but I like kids' books.  I've read a lot of them with the kids I work with and since Wonder was named one of the best 100 children's books ever, I wanted to read it.  Truthfully, I don't think it's the best--my favorite children's book is Bridge to Terabithia-- but Wonder was pretty good.  It's the story of a boy with a severe facial deformity facing his first year in school--middle school, which is tough enough for most kids to get through.  The story is predictable--Auggie is bullied but gets through it and becomes everyone's pal.  The best part the addendum from Justin's--the bad guy's--point of view.  Your children would enjoy this book and its message.

I absolutely loved Richman's The Lost Wife so I was excited to see that she had a new book out.  I was disappointed.  The plot seemed predictable (That must be my word for the month) and I had the feeling she wrote this one in a hurry to capitalize on the success of her last one.  B+.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quotes for the Week: Halloween


Black and gold,
Black and gold,
Nothing in between.
When the world turns black and gold,
Then it's Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

100 Ways to Reduce Stres by Spectrum Associates

Wiggle your toes.
Set priorities in your life.
Avoid negative people.
Use time wisely
Always make copies of important papers.
Anticipate your needs.
Ask for help with the jobs you dislike.
Break large tasks into bites size portions.
Look at problems as challenges.
Repair anything that doesn't work properly (or get someone else to do it).
Look at challenges differently/
Unclutter your life.
Be prepared for rain.
Tickle a baby.
Pet a friendly dog/cat.
Don't know all the answers.
Avoid relying on chemical aids.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
Get up fifteen minutes earlier.
Prepare for the morning the night before.
Set appointments ahead.
Don't rely on your memory.  Write it down.
Practice preventive maintenance.
Make duplicate keys.
Say no more often.
Look for the silver lining.
Say something nice to someone.
Teach a kid to fly a kite.
Walk in the rain.
Schedule play time into every day.
Take a bubble bath.
Be aware of the decisions you make.
Believe in yourself.
Ask a friend for a hug.
Develop your sense of humor.
Have goals for yourself.
Learn to whistle a tune.
Listen to a symphony.
Look up at the stars.
Practice breathing slowly.
Read a poem.
Say hello to a stranger.
Stop saying negative things to yourself.
Do a new thing.
Read a story curled up in bed.
Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better day; think today is a better day.
Visualize yourself winning.
Watch a ballet.
Stop a bad habit.
Buy yourself a flower.
Take time to smell the roses.
Find support from others.
Ask someone to be your vent-partner.
Work at being cheerful and optimistic.
Put safety first.
Do everything in moderation.
Pay attention to your appearance.
Always have a plan.
Be responsible for your feelings.
Become a better listener.
Feed the birds.
Hum a jingle.
Learn a new doodle.
Look at a work of art.
Maintain your weight.
Plant a tree.
Stretch your limits a little each day.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Learn to meet your own needs.
Memorize a joke.
Practice grace under pressure.
Go fishing or learn to fish.
Stand up and stretch.
Know your limitations and let other know them, too.
Tell someone to have a good day in Pig Latin.
Throw a paper airplane.
Exercise every day.
Learn the words to a new song.
Get to work early.
Clean out one closet.
Play patty cake with a toddler.
Go on a picnic.
Take a different route to work.
Leave work early (with permission).
Put air freshener in your car.
Watch a movie and eat popcorn.
Write a note to a faraway friend.
Go to a ballgame and scream.
cook a meal and eat it by candlelight.
Freely praise other people.
Get enough sleep.
Have a support network of people, places and things.
Keep a journal.
Practice a monster smile.
Quit trying to "fix" other people.
Recognize the importance of unconditional love.
Remember that stress is an attitude.
Remember you always have options.
Take less and listen more.
Relax.  Take each day at a time.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Addendum: Tips for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood

You're alone for the first time in years.  It's scary.  You hear creaks in the house at 2:00 a.m.  You worry that someday you'll fall down the stairs and there won't be anyone around to call 911.  I've experienced those same fears and I have two suggestions for dealing with them.
1, Have an alarm system installed.  We never had one.  My husband didn't feel it was necessary.  It was one of the first things I did after he died.  It made me feel much more secure and is worth the monthly fee.
2. Get a Life Alert button or similar system so that if you fall, you can push the little button and someone will respond immediately.  (You do have to wear the button, which my children remind me I often neglect to do.)  Some systems work only in your house and the immediate vicinity; I believe others can be taken with you when you are away as well.  Again, you'll feel much more secure.  Check on Amazon for information.

Take care, Thelma

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quote for the Week

Always know in your heart that you are far bigger than anything that can happen to you.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tip #11 for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood

Life is sad when you've just lost a loved one.  The world seems bleak and gray.  But you can try to find something each day to make you smile.  Not a big thing, just something small like a rose bush bursting into bloom, a smile from someone passing by, a sitcom that makes you chuckle, an email from a friend, a sunrise, a sunset.  At the end of the day I tally all the things that brought me a bit of cheer.  If you do that, you begin to look for things that light a spark of joy.  Try it.

That's the last of my 11 tips, but know what?  I think I have a few more, so in the next week or weeks I'll add an addendum.  Take care.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quote for the Week in Memory of My Husband

Thursday, October 16 will be the ninth anniversary of my husband's death.  In some ways it seems like yesterday; in others it seems forever.
On the last Valentine he gave me was a quote from First Corinthians:

Love bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things. 
Love never fails.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Books of September

In one of Daniel Silva's older books Israeli spy/art restorer must thwart a plot to kill the Pope.  Why is an Israeli doing this?  Why not?  A really good thriller. It gets an A.

Historical novel about the powerful D'Este sisters and their friendship with Leonardo Da Vinci.  Never felt I got to know the characters, although I did find the parts about Leonardo's painting of The Last Supper interesting.  B or B-

Very short book, consisting of three essays.  The first two, on hot air ballooning did not hold my interest but the third, on grief, was amazing.  I've read many books about grief but never anything as true as this one.  Skip the first two parts.  The third gets an A.

A family court judge visits a young man with leukemia, with far-reaching consequences.  This wasn't as good as some of his other books, a bit too predictable, but I enjoyed it.  A-

I was cleaning out my bookshelf and came upon this book.  I don't remember when, where or why I bought it, and I know I never read it, but it appeared at just the right time for me.  Having spent a couple of months in pain this summer and as a teenager having suffered third degree burns, I found this books to be a poignant description of the author's experience of illness and pain.  This is a book I will keep.  A+

This book alternates between two people with "five days left."  One is dealing with Huntington's chorea, the other with giving up a foster child he's come to love.  Those two don't seem to balance each other out.  This is a first novel and reads like one.  We get to know the characters but don't really feel for them, at least I didn't.  B+

I read a lot this month, didn't I?  Not sure how I managed to fit all these books in, but two were short.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tip # 10 for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood

Here is a tip for everyone, widowed or not.  Take the time to write a legacy letter to your loved ones.  I am so passionate about legacy letters that this summer I took a course to be certified as a legacy letter facilitator. 

Legacy letters used to be called ethical wills. I'm glad people have begun to refer to them as legacy letters.  The term "ethical will" sounds off-putting to me.

What is a legacy letter?  It's not a legal document.  Unlike your legal will, which bequeaths your tangible property to your heirs, an ethical will is a personal document that leaves your wisdom, your values, your hopes for the future.  It's a way, not only to leave a legacy but also to leave future generations a glimpse of you.  We all want to be remembered, but it's almost scary how quickly we vanish from memory.  When I took the ethical will course, we were asked how many of us could name our great grandparents.  Only one person could name them all and that was because she was interested in learning her family history.  Most, including me, couldn't name more than one.  In just a couple of generations we have faded from memory.

Ethical wills have been around for thousands of years.  The first ethical will, an oral one, is credited to the patriarch Jacob who, on his deathbed, gave his sons blessings... or curses  (Don't emulate Jacob if you write an ethical will).

What I've written so far sounds like a legacy letter is something you leave after you've passed away.  But people have written legacy letters to newborns, to family members celebrating a milestone, to friends.  One woman told me she'd like to write to her unborn grandchild.  Lovely. 

There's no rule about who, when, or why you write a legacy letter.  The only suggestion is that you open your heart.

Take care, and come back next week for Tip#11.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quote for the Week

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement there is a memorial service to remember all our loved ones.  This poem is my favorite part of the service:

IN THE RISING of the sun, and in its going down, we remember them. 
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them. 
In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them. 
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them. 
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them. 
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them. 
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them. 
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them. 
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them. 
So long as they live, we, too, shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

How Long is Long Enough?

In a provocative article in The Atlantic, bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel announces 75 is long enough.  He says that’s an appropriate age to die.  The title of the article, “Why I Hope to Die at 75” is a bit misleading though.  Emanuel doesn’t plan to blow out the candles on his 75th birthday cake, go into the bedroom and swallow a bottle of pills.  Rather, at 75 he will quit doing anything to prolong his life and let nature take its course.  He will forgo any kind of treatment, even preventative.  He will no longer take flu shots or colonoscopies (I’m with him on that one.) no longer take antibiotics if he has an infection.  And of course such treatments as chemo if he should develop cancer or bypass surgery for a heart attack are out of the question.  I suppose if he stepped on a rusty nail, he would refuse a tetanus shot.  He will no longer visit doctors for check-ups or routine tests.  If ill, he will accept palliative care to lessen pain but nothing else.


Why?  Well, he says by 75 he will have lived a full life, accomplished his greatest achievements, had an opportunity to see his children and grandchildren and presumably done everything he wants to do.  That includes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which he did last year.  He suggests that after 75 all we have to look forward to is decline…physically, mentally, emotionally.  Cancer, heart disease, dementia—one of these will be on the horizon.  We will be a drain on family members, take up hospital space.  With dementia, we will even lose our selves.  When we’re finally gone, our children will remember us as old and decrepit, not young and vigorous as we once were.


Emanuel’s father, near 75, was a mega-achiever and now is content to be a mentor to younger people (Is that so bad?).  Slowing down doesn’t seem to bother Dad, but Ezekiel finds it infinitely sad.  If you’re no longer accomplishing much other than completing the daily crossword puzzle, who would want to go on?  Apparently Emanuel never heard of Grandma Moses.


Important note:  Ezekiel is 57.  At that age, 75 does sound ancient.  How will he feel at 74?  Will he still believe there are no more peaks to climb, even metaphorically?  Of course we don’t know.


As one who has passed what he considers the end-stage age of 75, I still feel pretty lively even though I’m walking more slowly and my waistline has expanded and I forget where I put my keys more often than I used to.  I think there is still joy to be found in living. Yes, I fear disease and dementia, especially the latter.  I remember being profoundly shaken by the book Still Alice, in which the main character decides to commit suicide when her dementia worsens to the point where she doesn’t want to live…and then, when that time comes, has forgotten how she planned to do it.


When I suffered severe pain this spring from a pinched sciatic nerve, I wondered if life was worth living.  But I’m better now and more optimistic.  I don’t intend to quit taking flu shots or seeing my doctors…but I do sort of hope to slip away peacefully some night...in the future...in my sleep.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tip #9 for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood

How quickly the year passes.  It's almost holiday time again and for those of us who are widowed, especially recently, the holidays can be the hardest time of all.  Thanksgiving was my family's favorite holiday.  Ralph always cooked the turkey (I admit I've never cooked a turkey in my life and have no desire to learn how).  He also made the dressing, two kinds--one "normal" dressing, one with jalapenos--he was a chili lover.  I made everything else.  Kids were home.  We shared family jokes and made plans for the Annual Christmas Day Movie (a tradition, along with Chinese food in many Jewish homes). 

And then comes December, awash with holidays, and often even harder for widows/widowers to deal with.  Who will give you that special present, pull you under the mistletoe for a quick kiss, watch the flickering of Chanukah candles, decorate a Christmas tree?  It's a lonely time without a spouse to share it with.
So what can you do to alleviate at least some of the loneliness?  Maybe during Thanksgiving dinner you can each share a memory of your loved one.  After all, your children, if you have them, miss him/her, too.  Or if family isn't around, invite some other widowed people to share the holiday.  Or start a new holiday tradition, just your own.  One of my widowed friends had an open house the year after her husband died so she'd have company to cheer her--she said it worked.
Until my phone system gave out, I kept my husband's voice on the answering machine.  For practical reasons, of course.  It's safer to have a man answer the phone.  But I also kept his message because I like hearing his voice, and every New Year's at midnight I'd call our number so I could share the beginning of a new year with him.  Silly, maybe, but it made me less lonely.

Any more suggestions?

Stop by next week for Tip #10 (and remember, there are 11.  I also added an addendum when I thought of something new).  Take care.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quote for the Week from my cousin, Eugene Rosen

I am a Boston fan but watched all of Jeter's last games, minute by minute. Derek Jeter defined baseball in the richest manner...a slow ballet performed by boys at heart guided by rules and the bright sun shining over them.  I would like to hear from Mom and Dad, who are Hall of Famers as well. They guided their son in a manner that led to thousands of bright choices over his life, including baseball.  With Bob Marley's song, "so much trouble in the world these days" echoing often in my heart these days,
Derek Jeter was a celebration of the goodness of life and the goodness that is possible in each of us.  Continue your journey, Mr. Jeter, and I will watch and learn from you.  And to Mr. and Mrs. Jeter, thank you for the gift of your son.

Isn't it wonderful to have an athlete who is a role model.  TZ

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tip #8 for Navigating the Rough Seas of Widowhood

Grief is stressful--so much pain, so much loneliness.  Widowhood is stressful--so many details to attend to.  So what can you do? 

Pamper yourself.  Give yourself permission to take 30 minutes a day just for you.  What did you enjoy "before?"  Do it again. Do it for yourself..  Do it for today.

Soak in a bubble bath.  Read a beach book.  Take a walk in a park.  Visit a museum and lose yourself in a painting.  Browse in a bookstore ( a real one for a change, not online).  Plant a garden in one pot. Catch a fish.  Watch a sunset.  Buy a birdfeeder and watch birds.

Or if you want to be more daring, try something new--could be something small you've always wanted to do but never took the time for.  Make a bucket list (I did that the year after my husband died, and I've done most everything on it.)  Volunteer, perhaps somewhere that focuses on your spouse's illness. Read to children at a library or elementary school, or be a volunteer tutor. 

From somewhere, your late spouse will be cheering you on.

Take care, and stop by next Thursday for Tip #9

Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011