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The jerk store called and wants you back. ~ George Costanza

I had a strange experience this week of talking to a guy who seemed like he was flirting with me and then he turned to “interrogate” me and made rude remarks like “well if you really have a degree in Psychology…” I was like, what? The switch over happened so suddenly that it took me by surprise. At first I felt tears of hot anger…but feeling on the defensive…and flipping back to someone who explains themselves in a moment when she should just tell someone to jump off a roof.
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Apparently Joyce Carol Oates’ book caused quite the brouhaha mostly because one reviewer noted that Ms. Oates remarried quite quickly after the death of her husband of 40 something years. Some readers accused Ms. Oates of manipulating them with her book and not really being about anything but herself. The book is almost devoid of who her husband was.

Okay. That is what it is. It may be an open question as to whether it was just a bloodletting that managed to get published only because it was Ms. Oates or because it’s a valuable book. But the book and the fallout, for better or worse, opened up a discussion about widowhood and grieving. The problem continues to be that people, most people, have no clue about grieving and too many profess to know. And they don’t.

Along comes Ruth Koningsberg with a new book boldly and brashly (and erroneously) titled, “The Truth About Grief” and an New York Times OpEd to add a lot of fuel to the fire.
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This is brand new. While I one day hope to publish “Rope Burns: A Journey,” I marvel at others who have managed to get there first. I started to re-read this blog from the beginning the other day and simply couldn’t get past the second page. For now there is comfort in the writings of others.

“”Of the widow’s countless death-duties, there is really just one that matters: on the first anniversary of her husband’s death the widow should think I kept myself alive.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

I remember being most surprised at my thoughts of suicide in the first few months after Michael’s death. As the Washington Post reviewer says about Oates’ book, it was probably the journaling of her pain that kept her alive and, for me, it was the same thing. The thoughts of ending it all are very seductive and powerful. There is a draw to go where your beloved is, even if you don’t truly believe that is where you will wind up and there are so many others counting on you to stick around.

A powerful book and another inspiration for me (along with Elizabeth Harper Neeld and Joan Didion) to survive, thrive and publish.

A Widow’s Story: A Memoir

I cried the first time I heard the studio version of this song, but the thing I identify most with in the live version is the scream at the end here (not that present on the studio version).

I listen to this song at least once a day because it speaks to my grief in a way that few other songs do (Told me you loved me, that I’d never die alone…Hand over your heart, and let’s go home...) When I hear these lines, I think of Michael holding out his hand to me and how I felt, absolutely, like I was home. And there went my heart…

And it is true that when I wake up in the middle of the night (most nights) this song is what goes through my head. It seems to express how I feel in a way that few other things (even my own writing) seem to be able to.

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