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. 


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