Adam’s Update

Posted on Oct 1, 2017 in Spousal/Partner Loss, Uncategorized

Hello Everyone –

Here is the update on Eve finding her Adam.

A wonderful mother and son story. But a person doesn’t need a son or the internet – nor do they need to go international – to develop a relationship after a death or divorce. (IF a relationship is on their “to do” list.)

They do, however, have to place themselves where they can touch the hearts and minds of others.

>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KPwPZVee-s

Sending love to all of my readers. May you have a good week!

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YES, I am Over 50 and I Like and Miss Sex!

Posted on Jul 23, 2017 in General Grief, Spousal/Partner Loss

So often the bereaved can’t, or don’t, talk about what is important to them. This week’s Jane Brody NYT’s column, When a Partner Dies, Grieving the Loss of Sex, tackles one of our society’s taboo topics.

For anyone who is recently widowed – and for those of us who work with the bereaved, Brody’s column is a must read.

> Read:  When a Partner Dies, Grieving the Loss of Sex

 

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My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became a Widow

Posted on Apr 16, 2017 in Caregiving, Facing One's Own Death, Spousal/Partner Loss

Today’s post features a 2016 New York Times article, “My Marriage Didn’t End When I Became a Widow” by Lucy Kalanithi. I know it is now 2017, but I think it is important to hear Lucy’s voice before I introduce you to her husband, Paul.

When Lucy’s husband, a young and brilliant Stanford neurosurgeon, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, he moved within the world of medicine from physician to patient. Lucy, also a physician, became his caregiver and the mother of a daughter conceived after Paul’s diagnosis.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on his book When Breath Becomes Air. The book is beautifully written (not many physicians also have two degrees in English literature) and an inspiring memoir. It was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Washington Post, The New York Times and National Public Radio, and has 4.7 out of 5 stars from 6,265 readers on Amazon.

Janet Maslin from the NYT says: I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. Part of this book’s tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him—passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die—so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: “It’s just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.” And I say just important enough to be unmissable.

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Featured Book: Insomniac City, New York, Oliver and Me.

Posted on Feb 26, 2017 in General Grief, Spousal/Partner Loss


The late Oliver Sacks’s life partner, Bill Hayes, has written Insomniac City, New York, Oliver and Me. It is an incredible memoir and honors his relationship with Oliver, Oliver’s decline and death, and Bill’s love of New York City. The writing, the telling, pulls the reader into a place that is quietly special.

I suppose it’s a cliché to say you’re glad to be alive, that life is short, but to say you’re glad to be not dead requires a specific intimacy with loss that comes only with age or deep experience. One has to know not simply what dying is like, but to know death itself, in all its absoluteness.

 

After all, there are many ways to die — peacefully, violently, suddenly, slowly, happily, unhappily, too soon. But to be dead — one either is or isn’t.

 

The same cannot be said of aliveness, of which there are countless degrees. One can be alive but half-asleep or half-noticing as the years fly, no matter how fully oxygenated the blood and brain or how steadily the heart beats. Fortunately, this is a reversible condition. One can learn to be alert to the extraordinary and press pause — to memorize moments of the everyday.

 

I highly recommend the book – for many reasons – but it shines in its ability to remove the reader from the current political intensity. It reminds us that we can be inspired. It reminds us that the world at large doesn’t need to change who we are or how we chose to be. It reminds us to pay attention to what brings us joy.

Found on Amazon.com

 

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Entering into a New Relationship after the Death of a Life Partner

Posted on Apr 15, 2016 in Spousal/Partner Loss

Partner Loss

This post was originally featured on the OpentoHope.com newsletter.

How many photos are too many?

One of the most charming questions I ever received in one of my second year spousal loss classes came from a middle-aged man named Sam. He said, “If I were to invite a woman over to dinner, how many framed pictures of my deceased wife would be too many?”

His question was a good one. Sam, like most people who have lost a mate, had increased the number of framed photos around his house so he could feel his late wife’s presence. I answered his question with one of my own: “If you went into a widow’s home, how many photos of her deceased spouse would it take for you to feel uncomfortable?” He laughed and said it was time to dismantle the shrine. He went on to say that he was going to invite a woman over to his home for dinner because he missed having a meaningful conversation with the opposite sex.

The void created by “not belonging to another”

Social connections are key to emotional health. They remind us of our value. Research supports that those of us who are socially connected are healthier, have fewer stress-related problems, and recover from trauma and illness faster. Yet many widows and widowers are reticent to seek a new partner because the quality of the relationship – long term- is uncertain. Occasionally, a class member is brave enough to express his or her apprehension by saying, “What happens if I remarry and find I’m unhappier than I am living alone?” It’s a good question and a valid concern.

However, I recently sent a questionnaire to 90 widows and widowers I have worked with over the years. Of the 60 percent who responded, more than half are happily remarried or in a committed relationship. Many reported that their current relationship was more loving and rewarding than the one they had with their deceased mate.

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