There is a little-talked-about effect of losing your partner or spouse. In addition to being denied their company and conversation, you are now bereft of a sounding board for your plans, problems and decision-making.

You’ve lost your sidekick. 

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The Meaning of Meaning


Last week my houseguests, Gloria Durka and Paul Bumbar, and I brought a breakfast of coffee, scones and muffins to the ninety-seven-year-old energizer bunny known as Ilona Royce Smithkin.

We squeezed ourselves into her crammed, top-flour rooms overlooking Provincetown’s narrow Cape Cod Bay beach. We were there to help her brainstorm how she can dispose of her life’s work—hundreds of Impressionistic paintings and drawings.

Just as with every other encounter with Ilona, I came away spiritually richer for it.

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My Weekend with Pinsky


I went on a bender last weekend. It wasn’t bourbon with which I besotted myself, but poetry. With a master poet named Robert Pinsky.

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Monday Funday


I listened to five of the brightest kids in my grandson’s Connecticut high school give addresses during their commencement on Monday. They said pretty much the same thing. And we adults should be troubled by it.

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Being Busy: My Psycho Self-Analysis


I spent the entire three-day Memorial Day weekend watching television. Some movies, yes, and a couple of series that I had recorded. But “Naked and Afraid?” Yup. Bare butts held my attention for several back-to-back episodes (pun intended).

This lost weekend was both self-analysis and self-medication for something I learned during my most recent psychotherapy session.

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My Architects


It’s always about coming home to freedom, isn’t it? The twelve tribes of Israel coming home to the freedom of the Promised Land. Christ’s crucifixion freeing him to go home to his father. The Buddha finding freedom from suffering while sitting under a fig tree. Why is home so hard to find, Jenny thought? Maybe because you believe you’re home when you’re really not there at all. Dorothy made friends in Oz, but she wasn’t home. Alice, in Wonderland, was in constant apprehension that something bad would overtake her because she wasn’t home. No, Jenny thought, if you feel foreboding, you’re not home. Maybe that’s what the Hebrews discovered in their wandering, and Christ in his suffering and the Buddha in his sitting—that home is more than place.

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Hesychast for a Day


Even though I’m embraced by the bursting springtime flowers of Cape Cod, I spent yesterday in the desert.

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Confessions of a Breech Baby


Mom looks a bit bedraggled after her three-day delivery of

that ten-pound sack Dad is holding.

The road out leads only one way. But sometimes one heads in the wrong direction. I did.

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In her book, Heartburn, Nora Ephron wrote of her husband's infidelity: “You have lost a piece of your past. The infidelity itself is small potatoes compared to the low-level brain damage that results when a whole chunk of your life turns out to have been completely different from what you thought it was. It becomes impossible to look back at anything that’s happened . . . without wondering what was really going on.”

Or one might try poetry to make sense of it.


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Retreat to The Sandpiper


“All my life I have lived and behaved very much like a sandpiper,

just running down the edges of different countries and continents,

looking for something.”

—Elizabeth Bishop 

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