Trying to rebuild my safe zone

First day of school photo in 1970. I was 11. My brother was 8. He died three months later.

My late husband Jim was a protector by nature. He always wanted to make sure I was safe. Safety to him meant many things: regular maintenance on our vehicles, new wheel bearings on the boat trailer, taking firearms courses, carrying a cell phone, checking in with each other regularly, locking windows and doors, rewiring the […]

When sadness bubbles below the surface

Jim and Sassy

This time of year makes my heart catch. It is the time of year that my late husband Jim began to get noticeably and irrevocably ill. He died on Dec. 7, 2010, from pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis we did not receive until the morning of the day he died. I try not to think about […]

How closing camp stirs old memories

buttoned up camper

I found the serene scene most unsettling as I gazed out across the lake early Sunday morning. The hundreds of ducks, geese, and other water-loving birds that normally find refuge in our cove were conspicuously absent. Only a lone loon fished lazily off the end of the dock. The migratory birds have been leaving in […]

Facing down a ‘widow fear stage’


If you’ve ever raised a dog from puppyhood, you know that puppies go through natural “fear stages” in which normal things that never bothered them before suddenly scare them into odd responses such as cowering or hiding. It could be noises or sudden movements or people that trigger the fear response. Or something as simple […]