Three months and eighteen days after Ned’s death, I took his ashes, as per his written request, to India. This was still relatively early days, so perhaps I can be forgiven for my persistent illusion: I still thought you could somehow outsmart grief. I did not yet know that when grief wants to be felt, it will find a way to… Read More
TABLE FOR ONE
“For months after Ned’s death I barely ate. (How could I taste, let alone digest, when my sweet partner had suddenly, absolutely vanished from the earth, could never close his eyes again in ecstasy at something so simple as a perfect baked red yam or a plate of pancakes?)” I wrote most of Passionate Vegetarian when Ned was alive. It… Read More
GRIEVING, WITH HONOR & TRUTHFULNESS
Grief, in the early stages; grief, after the first layer of shock has worn off: so excruciatingly painful is it, and so discontinuous with the reality we knew before death took the person we most loved in the world, that we do not want to feel it. And, as we struggle against it— for who would willingly accept such pain?… Read More
Grieving Aloud: At the Unlikely Campfire of Facebook, & Under the Stars
About a year ago, a friend who’s a fellow widow wrote on Facebook about the then-current phase of her grieving. She allowed me to quote her here, without identification. Her words: “… it happens, even two years down the road, this stage: the ‘stay at home, don’t want to see anyone, or do anything’ stage. “As any of you who know… Read More
“YOU WERE LUCKY TO HAVE HIM”: GENTLER REFLECTIONS
I wrote, last Wednesday, about the awfulness of others saying “You were lucky to have him,” to us, the bereaved, often at a moment shockingly close to the beloved’s death. But the more complicated truth is, not only do others say this to us, we say it to ourselves. My friend, the writer Jane Yolen (who has been widowed for… Read More
HOW DO WE DEFINE OURSELVES NOW; OR, WHAT BOX AM I SUPPOSED TO CHECK?
Though we spent our first anniversary in Paris, we’d honeymooned in the Ozarks, in Ponca, Arkansas, not far from where we lived. When we drove home after our days in that rustic, rubble-wall hotel on the Buffalo River, we stopped in Berryville. For some reason I can’t recall, he needed to pick something up at a hardware store. He went… Read More
IT FEELS LIKE INSANITY. BUT IS IT?
I call it, “the club no one wants to join.” I look back, seventeen years as I write this since I joined, absolutely against my will… so much against my will that when the local paper, reporting on Ned’s death, referred to me as his widow a few days after his death (a bicycle accident), I actually phoned the editor…. Read More