Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thomas and I were driving to New Orleans to display my new book, Alone and Alive, a practical guide for dealing with the death of your husband, at the American Library Association conference, when we began discussing family history. Among the stories I told was one my Mother had related to me about her childhood.

My Mother and her father began going to the “cowboy movies” every Saturday night when she was still a very young child. When the weather was good they would walk the few blocks to the theater in the town square. It was a special bond that developed between them as this pattern continued even into Mother’s early teens.

Then came a Saturday night, when Mother was 14, that changed that. Mother was invited to a sleep over with friends. At an age where teens begin to separate from the family, she chose to go to the sleep over, rather than the cowboy movies. Her father’s feelings were hurt, his little girl wasn’t going to the movies with him.

At 5 in the morning Mother was awakened. Her mother had come to take her home. The unthinkable had happened, her father had a heart attack and died. Mother was hit with terrible guilt! At 14 she believed that her father had died of a broken heart!

Guilt is a part of grieving. Of course, as an adult, my Mother understood that her father did not die of a broken heart, and that her decision did not cause his heart attack. But for nearly all of us there is the opportunity for guilt - “if only I had...”, “The last thing I said was....”, and many other. Just remember the only thing you can do with guilt is learn from it. Treat you family as if you might never see them again. Don’t give guilt an opportunity.
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day is a hard day for many of us. Both my father and my husband are gone. I hoped it would drift by unnoticed this year. Unfortunately, Thomas and I went to the bookstore yesterday.

“Why is there so much traffic,” he asked.

“Tomorrow is Father’s Day,” I said. “Last minute shopping.”

“Is it? I didn’t realize that.” Thomas replied, somewhat startled.

We glanced at each other, as we sat in the line of cars trying to find a parking place. Our eyes conveyed the same sentiment. Neither of us really wanted to think about Father's Day, but we couldn’t escape it. No Father’s Day celebration today, just an ordinary Sunday.

For all the Fathers out there, enjoy your family, hug them a lot, make the most of your time together, and, of course, Happy Father’s Day!
Friday, June 17, 2011

Is Probate Required?

A woman I met recently asked me if you really needed to probate your husband’s will. A friend had told her it wasn’t ever necessary, that it was just a trick by lawyers to make money. I have heard this many times before and the best answer is “it depends.” (Sounds just like a lawyer doesn’t it?)

The type of property you own, your family makeup, and where the deceased wants the property to go are all issues that effect the decision to probate a will. There is no easy, one size fits all answer to that question. In Texas, if there is no will, the deceased property may go to his children instead of his wife, if he has children outside the marriage. That could leave you owning you home with your step-children! Each case is different, you need to consult a qualified probate attorney to determine if your spouses will needs probating.
Saturday, June 11, 2011

Living Reminders

Yesterday my son and I were on the highway and Thomas was driving. He periodically went “weeeeeeeee,” like a kid on a ride, as we came down a steep ramp. About the 3rd time he did this I had to laugh. My husband used to make the same sound especially on switchbacks in the mountains. Thomas was to young to have learned the behavior so I can only assume it is an inherited part of his personality.

Widows often find themselves reminded of their deceased husbands in the action and mannerisms of their children. Depending on where you are in your grief the reminder can be painful and bring tears, or it can bring a smile. Coming up on the ten year mark, this expression of driving enjoyment made me laugh. I remembered all the great times Bob and I had traveling together. I have to show Thomas the vacation video that demonstrates Bob’s “weeeeeeee” and the two of us can laugh together!

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