Grab Life

My Aunt Kathy just celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary. 

This is a significant event for anyone, but particularly significant for my aunt and “bonus” uncle, Monty, because my aunt had some doubts about the marriage before it even started. 

You see, my aunt was a 30-something year old widow at the time, raising a small child. Monty was significantly older with grown children and even grandchildren.  

Aunt Kathy entered our family Years before by marrying my mother’s brother. He was also significantly older and when he passed, my aunt felt all those feelings of deep grief, the sleepless nights, the despair. 

We’ve survived the worst event of our lives, why would we want to put ourselves through that again? It’s the timeless question. Is love worth the price we ultimately pay in heartache? 

For those of us who have been through the loss of our beloveds and get to the point of thinking of our future, we know that fear. 

When she was finally able to face her future and started dating, she made a list of things she was looking for in a man. She was looking for someone closer to her age when she found Monty. 

My aunt told me that was her only hesitation. 

Monty stepped into the family, partnering with my aunt to finish raising my youngest cousin and becoming “dad” and “grandad” to both of her girls and grandchildren. He accepted my mother as part of his family and helped her a great deal when she was still alive. In the process, I also got a bonus uncle. 

“I told him to give me 20 years,” she said. 

In the years they’ve been married, they’ve been through it all, of course. The ups of realizing their goals, building their dream home here in these Ozark Mountains and the downs of health scares – both his and hers. 

She said she would do it again. 

My aunt was brave. She chose and grasped life and allowed love to rule rather than allowing the fear of the heartache another loss would ultimately bring. 

To think of all our lives had she allowed fear to rule is like imagining a real-time “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George sees his life had he never been born. 

It’s a lesson for all of us to contemplate, but especially widows and widowers who know they have a 50 percent chance of losing a new partner again. 

My aunt would tell you if that’s your only hesitation, choose life. Grab it and go for the ride. Nothing in this life is a sure thing and we can only enjoy the moments as they’re given to us. 

I know we’re all better because she did.  


If Our Days Aren’t Merry & Bright, we can Change it

As we begin the last week of 2021, I’m reflecting, but also, as I typically do this time of year, looking toward the future. 

I wrote in my last post, how awful that first Christmas was without Dale. I thought I’d planned but underestimated the impact that first Christmas would have on my psyche. 

This year, I knew I wouldn’t be traveling, as I backed out of my planned cruise due to covid (a good move, given the recent surge). I tried to make a back-up plan, inviting another single friend here, but that didn’t work out, either. I got distracted and didn’t make a plan C. 

This Christmas wasn’t terrible, plenty of people in my tribe called and texted and I had dinner with my aunt and uncle. But I once again woke up alone on Christmas day.  I don’t like it, as much as I try to trick my mind into thinking it’s just another day. 

I also awoke the first time on Christmas Day this year at 3:33. I’m a spiritual person and believe in synchronicity. In Angel Numbers, this number represents a sign to keep moving forward on our path. 

Now, that might be a little woo-woo for some of you, but bear with me. 

When we are widowed, we have three people we can count on: Me, myself and I. 

If I don’t like something in my life, I only have myself to rely on to make a change. 

So, you know what? As soon as I felt it wasn’t too early on Christmas Day, I texted my second pet sitter (I knew one was already booked) and asked if she was available to sit during the holidays in 2022. I’d already talked with my exchange daughter in Germany about spending Christmas with her and her family in Munich next year. 

Covid still may be a concern, so I may not get there, but I will be some place and I will be with people. That may mean I’m just chatting with the person who brings me room service coffee. It may mean traveling in the U.S. with other widowed friend or friends I’ve met. It may mean having a good friend come and stay here or opening a retreat to another widow. Or it could mean I’m in a relationship with someone who is sharing their family with me, or wants to travel, too. 

I don’t know yet. What I do know is that I cannot go back to what I had and it’s unacceptable for me to feel as if I’m stuck. 

My big lesson for 2021 is not just to move forward, but to create multiple plans in how that looks. It’s Ok if Plan A doesn’t work to move to B, C, D, or wherever, as long as it moves me forward.  

Happy New Year to you. May you have a healthy and happy one that keeps moving you forward and make days that are merry and bright.  


You Can Make it

Christmas week. It’s a tough week for all of us on this widowhood journey, but especially those in the beginning. 

This will be my 4th Christmas without my husband, and it is still hard. But I’m here to tell you it does get better. I’m here to remind you that your grief will change eventually and one day, you will look back and be grateful you made it. 

But right now, you must get through this holiday, this year.

My first Christmas in 2018 was excruciating. There’s no other way to describe it. I was just a month from unexpectedly losing my husband at age 57 to a heart attack. In those four short weeks I’d found him collapsed in our garage two days before Thanksgiving, planned two memorials (one in our current town and one in our hometown), bought a burial plot, endured Thanksgiving (what did I have to be thankful for?), turned 55 and now I had to get through Christmas. 

Yes, I had friends and family ask me to travel to their homes, but I knew I couldn’t be merry and bright. I didn’t want to spoil their time with their families. 

I thought I’d prepared myself. I’d wake up, do my daily sobbing and pull myself together to go to my aunts for dinner late that afternoon.

For me, that was a mistake. I’d underestimated the impact waking up on Christmas morning alone for the first time in my life. Social media, of course, was my second mistake. Reading about everyone’s celebrations was not a good move. 

By noon, I couldn’t stand the sight of my Christmas tree any longer. It didn’t help putting up the décor was the last major project Dale and I had worked on together. 

I then thought of one of the first Christmas presents he gave me, when I was 16. It was a little pin of Mr. Bill, the SNL character so popular at the time. I wanted to hold it – hold onto something – from our many Christmases together. 

I looked and looked and couldn’t find the jewelry box I knew I’d seen just weeks before while putting up those decorations (I would later realize “widow fog” was so strong, the box was sitting there right in front of me, and I just couldn’t see it). 

I returned to the house, and I will tell you, I didn’t want to live at that point. I got out all my prescription pain meds I’d collected from months of surgeries I’d recently had. I sat them in front of me on my side table and stared at them. 

I thought of a 9/11 widow’s story I’d never forgotten. In her grief, she’d ended her life shortly before Christmas that year. I always thought how sad her grief defined her story. But now, for the first time, I understood. 

I sobbed. I kept thinking of reasons to take the pills. I thought my life was over. I didn’t think I was strong enough to go on without the man I’d loved since I was 15 years old. 

Then a voice inside my head kept reminding me of the many reasons not to. The people, my large tribe who’d worked so hard to help me make it in those weeks. My godbrother/our good friend, Mike, who made a 6-hour trip in less than 4 when I called him that first day. He stayed with me and helped me with all the arrangements. He and his wife, Charlotte, came back after the memorial to help me secure my property so it was safer for me to live alone. My friend, Kathy, who came and stayed with me the first week after the memorial, who was calling me every single night promptly at 7 p.m. to let me sit in my grief with her. My aunt, who was the first one to tell me I had to get up from the driveway where I’d collapsed and had been helping me each day since. My daughters and granddaughters, who, during their grief, was tending to mine. My very large group of friends – my tribe – who did many, many acts of kindness. Even writing colleagues, some of whom I’d never met in person, who realized when I didn’t that life insurance doesn’t settle within days and took up a collection to help see me through the next few months. 

Those were all the reasons I had not to take those pills.

When my oldest daughter called that afternoon, I was still an emotional wreck. I didn’t tell her I’d been staring at a table of pills for 2 hours. She told me she was bringing me to Germany, where she lives, the following summer, so I could meet my granddaughter. She wanted to give me that to hold onto.  

I did. I held on, and so can you. 

This holiday, plan. Go with those family members or friends who have invited you. They love you; they will understand if you’re not full of joy. You can always leave the room if needed. If you can help it, don’t be alone. 

If you must be alone, make sure loved ones check on you. Call a friend or family member. Try to plan to stay busy. Watch funny shows, movies, binge a favorite series. For God’s sake, stay off social media. And if you get to a point of no return, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

You can make it. Please, believe me. You have so much life to live yet. So many people to meet and things you haven’t done. Do not let your grief define your story. 


Going West to Find Joy

As she did each evening, Sue Moak sat on the front porch of her home in the rural Texas Hill Country. She and her husband, Rickie, had bought the land and built what they planned as their retirement home. But Rickie died suddenly at age 61, nearly two years before. 

“I looked down the long driveway and it finally set in,” Sue recalls. “I would never see Rickie driving down that driveway again.” 

Sue knew at that moment she needed to let go of the dream never fully realized at “Rockin’ RS Ranch,” as they dubbed their home. “I knew I had to leave when it became more painful to stay than it was to leave.” 

Sue had visited Colorado and considered moving there before, with Rickie. She decided moving to the state famous for its’ Rocky Mountains would not only offer her a new type of adventure, but also opportunities for her family to experience winter sports, mountains and majestic scenery when they would visit. 

Sue found a real estate agent, but on the day she was scheduled to sign the papers, fear, loss and regret for what could have been overwhelmed her. She backed out. “Every day, I would think of staying and it was just like a gut punch,” Sue said. “I tried to stay, but I just couldn’t.” 

After talking with her family again, she finally moved forward. 

Sue moved in January 2017, a little over two years after she lost Rickie. It wasn’t easy. Sue spent many days crying and missing the ranch. However, Sue, a gregarious and independent woman, made new friends in her new small town in Colorado. She volunteers for the local humane society and even adopted two cats, Heathcliff and Solar.  

Her family visits when they can and they’ve experienced all kinds of adventures together, such as skiing, snowboarding and river rafting. As a bonus, her sister and brother in law bought a condo they use part of the year in the same town. 

Even more special, Sue’s daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Justin and grandson, Bixby, all share a home with Sue now. Bixby and Sue have become especially close. Spending time with 8-year-old Bixby has been more fulfilling than anything she could have imagined in her retirement years. 

Life may not have turned out the way Sue imagined it a decade ago, but she has moved forward in living and finding joy in what she has. “I still miss the ranch, I will always miss the ranch,” Sue, now 71, says. “It’s not easy to leave your dreams behind. I knew I was always going to carry this sadness for Rickie and what we had, but I knew there had to be some joy in life left for me and I knew I had to go find my joy. It wasn’t going to find me.” 


Ripping Off the Band Aid

It began with a pumpkin cream muffin. 

I was meeting a friend in a new coffee shop. I hadn’t had lunch and was hoping they had sandwiches. But all they had were baked goods. 

The tasty treats came from a sandwich shop and bakery in another town, one Dale and I used to frequent a lot. 

That week, a good friend reminded me I used to call intentionally triggering myself “ripping off the band aid,” as in, I’d rather get it over with quickly and let the wound begin to heal slowly. 

That idea was born from the very first very raw days of my loss, when my friend, Kathy, was still staying with me. As we drove by Dale’s workplace on our way to town, she said, “I just can’t bear the thought of you having to drive by this place every single time you go to town.” 

I thought about that and decided the more I did it – the more I ripped off that band aid – the more normal it would become. Slowly, I began to rip the band aid off. It took awhile and a lot of tears, but eventually, things I used to do with Dale that I now am doing alone, became my normal. I sometimes don’t even think of that being Dale’s former workplace when I drive by. 

So, I ordered a pumpkin cream muffin, my favorite from that bakery I had only been to once since Dale died. I sat there, alone, waiting for my friend and allowed my sense of taste take me back, back to my life “before.”

It was hot out that day, but I imagined the cold, dreary days we’d gone to that restaurant and ordered a hot sandwich and soup and loaded up with baked goods to take home. I  always got the pumpkin cream muffins. Dale’s favorite were the oatmeal raisin cookies. From there, we’d browse the cabin store when we had bought our log bed. 

The trigger did bring on a grief wave, one that lasted longer than I intended. It was kind of a rough rest of the week. On top of it. plans didn’t come together for the weekend in my new life and I found myself once again alone. 

Something a good widow friend told me just that week resonated, “There’s things to do, but I don’t want to go out and do them alone.” 

I decided my plans falling apart, however, was a sign I needed to get out and do some things alone. Getting out on a Saturday to do things is also different for me. It is one thing I have avoided, not just because it’s more crowded on the weekend, but that was the day Dale and I always went out together

That Saturday, I went to an airplane show in my town.  I then headed over to the local state park gift shop; something Dale and I used to do. I shopped then sat for awhile on a bench where we’d sat many times before, overlooking the lake and dam. 

Along the way, I allowed the memories to wash over me. I allowed myself to imagine riding along with Dale, watching him smile as I guessed the year by the song the local radio station was featuring with a rerun of “American Top 40.” My worthless talent is my knowledge of classic rock. I thought of all the times “Still the One” played on the radio and how I would sing it to him (badly) and he never complained. 

I smiled as I saw a VW bug and how we always played “punch bug,” playfully hitting each other in the arm. 

I drove on, hitting a couple more stores and ended up at the local pet supply that has a little bakery (barkery) case with baked doggy treats. Dale and I would splurge once a week and get our fur kids something special while buying dog food. 

I chose three cookies with paw prints to take home. 

When I walked into MyLittle House that hot afternoon, the dogs were, predictably, very happy to see me, especially when they got their “special treats” I kept telling them I had in my hand. 

For the first time that week, I felt a sense of release. I realized I was getting used to being alone, driving alone, doing things alone. 

It began with a pumpkin cream muffin and ended with paw print cookies. 

I ripped off the band aid and I am continuing to heal. 


Embracing our Inner Weirdo

I don’t dream of him often anymore, but I dreamt of him early this morning. 

We were doing what we loved together, fishing. For some reason, it wasn’t from a boat, but we were in some body of water where we had to swim around taking a special line and tackle and dangling it in front of the fish. 

We became separated and fished a little on our own with our special tackle. There were others there and at one point, it became too crowded and we got out of the water and met up in this house where others were gathering. Dale had lost his special tackle, but I still had mine and he said, “I’ve found this great place to fish without anyone, it’s a cabin, let’s take your tackle and see what we can catch. We’d better hurry because it’s getting dark.” 

As we started to leave, I went to grab my tackle and someone had taken it. “Let me go with you,” the man who had my tackle said. 

I smiled at him, grabbed my tackle and line from him and told him, “We don’t play well with others,” and I looked at Dale and motioned, “He’s my weirdo.” 

I woke up. It was 4 a.m. I laid there with that for awhile. I felt that familiar wave of grief coming on. 

I miss my weirdo. 

For those of us who have lost a partner or spouse – especially those of us who had been with them for a long time – we have that feeling. We each have a little “weirdo” in us. And our partners were the one person who got us. The one person who loved us – all of us unconditionally – accepting even our unique quirks. 

It’s like we were a part of a two piece puzzle and they were the other piece that fit. 

Maybe the dream has meaning and a message for me; maybe it’s just a mix of recent emotions and digesting the tamales I had for supper……

After and hour, I finally got up and turned on my music – my salvation – and finally cried. 

Appropriate the first song I turned up was Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly,” the song I’ve claimed as my widow power ballad.  

My thoughts then came back to my here and now, my reality, what I wanted and needed to accomplish for the day, plans for the weekend, which are still up in the air…… 

I’m a 1-piece puzzle now, it’s up to me to embrace my whole being, my heart, my inner weirdo. 

Maybe that’s the lesson of the dream. 


The Changes we Embrace and Those we Don’t

“The only constant in life is change”-Heraclitus.

In widowhood, there is the change we didn’t choose, obviously. But there is also the changes we do choose to make and even embrace. 

Early in my widowhood, I either read or was advised in group to make some small changes in “our” home, the idea is to begin the process of making it into “my” instead of “our.” 

The first change I made was small; I simply hung a rack for the dog leashes. My late husband, Dale, had a thing about hanging things on the wall; it was one of his quirks. He hated nail holes. So, I had a rack I bought for the dog leashes, but he would never hang it. 

He hated when I hung even decorative things on the wall (I hung them anyway) and although this would make our lives easier by having a place for the dog leashes, I never insisted on him hanging it…. you know in a marriage you choose your battles. 

So the leash rack was my first imprint of making the house “my house.” Little by little, I made changes, redecorating the bathroom, the bedroom and finally replacing his recliner and getting a new side table and lamp for “his” corner of the living room to make it my reading corner.  

This summer, I decided I wanted to have a couple of deck parties with girlfriends, so I bought some pretty new dishes – more feminine – and I was reminded of when my mother became a widow and she redecorated her bedroom in rose colored florals. 

I understand now her need to do that. 

When I began looking at new flatware, however, I didn’t want to make a total change. 

When Dale and I started dating, I was working part time at J.C. Penney while attending high school. One night, as we were walking through the store, we both fell in love with a flatware set that had wooden handles. I purchased it with my discount and when we got it out of layaway, it went into my “Hope Chest.” 

It wasn’t the last thing we purchased for the house from the retailer. So much of our house was outfitted with furniture from Penney’s, Dale jokingly called it, “The J.C. Penney Showroom.” 

Fast forward and after several decades of using and abusing the flatware (Dale took them to work to eat lunch and didn’t return them, they got chewed up in the garbage disposal, etc.) I have only one fork left and a miss match of flatware. We still loved the wooden handled set and Dale suggested a few years ago I look online to see if I could find it or something similar. At the time, I came up empty. 

When I began looking for flatware to go with my new dishes, I decided to look again to see if I could find the wooden handled ones I’ve loved since I was 17. 

Lo and behold, I did. It was the one thing in the house I didn’t want to change. When they arrived, I was thrilled they were almost an exact match to the ones we put in layaway together 40 years ago. 

Although worn, I didn’t put the old flatware in the box for donation. I put them under the new flatware in the drawer. 

Like my old life, no matter how far I move forward, the flatware will be there, just under the new, always a piece of the “us” that was. 

If you’re a widow/widower, what changes have you made in your home?    


Softening the Quiet

It’s the quiet that sometimes bothers me the most. 

When my mom became a widow, I noticed she had started keeping the television on all the time. Before my dad died, she was alone many hours a day while he worked two jobs, but she never had the television on during the day. 

I now know how she felt. Before Dale died, I could come home from a long day working in the studio and begin to prepare dinner without ever turning on the television. Dale was gone long hours, 12-15 hours a day and walking into a quiet house never bothered me. I knew when he came home, there would be greetings and the television would be on for the rest of the evening while we ate. 

Many widows and widowers say the nights are the worst; when they go to bed and remember the person they loved most in the world is gone. 

Those are hard for me, too, but not as bad as the pang of loneliness I feel walking into a quiet house after a long day of work. 

I know there will be no one to share my day with, or him me.

I know there will be no satisfaction in preparing a lovely meal that is appreciated by someone else. 

I know there will be no sharing one of our favorite shows, or playfully arguing over watching baseball (I always won. Baseball is my favorite).  

There will be no one to awaken when he’s fallen asleep in his chair. 

It’s the quiet that I can’t quite adjust to, so I get up and turn on the news and then keep music playing all day. If I go over to my studio, I leave the music on so the quiet doesn’t assault me quite as violently when I walk through the door. 

It doesn’t cure the quiet, but it softens it, giving me time to adjust to the idea of preparing a meal just for me. Realizing there’s no one with whom to share the remote. 

Maybe that’s why the nights don’t bother me as much anymore. By the time I head into the bedroom, I’ve already softened the quiet. 

Moving Forward is a Choice

Oh, how easy it would be to wallow in the past. 

Facebook Memories can be both a blessing and a curse. They allow me to remember things I have forgotten and also reminds me it’s the anniversary of good things that happened, like trips and sometimes the smaller moments in life that become the big memories. 

But those good memories can also bring up mixed emotions. Such was the case when the above photo popped up the other day, reminding me it was 7 years ago that we bought this boat. “My husband has a new love,” was the caption. 

Memorial Day weekend in my former life meant the official start of “lake life,” early mornings watching the mist rise off the lake from our boat as we fished, but mostly absorbing the beauty around us. Coming home on Sundays and taking an early nap and then enjoying an afternoon/evening of grilling and a couple of beers while on the deck. 

Sometimes, as was the case in 2014, it was hosting friends and family on holiday weekends. I declared that weekend we bought the boat, the 4-wheeler and hosted good friends the beginning of “the summer of fun.” 

We even called our large deck on the back of the house the “party deck.” 

But part of moving forward in our grief is also realizing that those days are gone. Our lives have changed. As I posted this memory to my page, I wrote, “I can’t believe this was 7 years ago. Now the boat and Dale are both gone and while I still live here, so is the ‘lake life.” 

I couldn’t handle the boat on my own and fishing, to me, is not fun anymore without my fishing buddy. 

Part of moving forward is also making the best of the hand we’ve been dealt. Finding new memories and experiencing joy in our new life. It doesn’t mean we like being a widow (part of the “Club No one Wants to Join).” It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t change it if we could.

But we can’t. 

I’m sure those of us of a certain age remember (and maybe even sometimes still hears) the song by Barry Manilow called “Copacabana” in which a woman named Lola, a former dancer, lost her love to a murder. Thirty years later, she still sits at the bar “drinking herself half blind.” 

How sad. It highlights anyone grieving has two choices: The first is getting so lost in grief that we cannot let go. We wallow in the “could’ves” and continue to be miserable.  

I’ve decided my Dale wouldn’t want that for me. In 2007, we made the decision to move here, to live life as if there were no tomorrow. 

He’d want me to live the life he didn’t get to. He’d want me to continue to live large. I want to honor that, not just for him, but also for myself. Life is a gift, but living and loving is a choice.  

So, while I will likely have some tears this holiday weekend for what was – honoring my grief – I will also do things that are a part of my life now. Meeting up with friends for a lunch, meeting some others for the outdoor music concert in our town. Cleaning and organizing my writing studio to prepare my career for its’ next chapter. 

Moving forward. It’s the only choice for me.  

What are you doing to move forward this weekend?   

A Stranger in a Strange Land

Shortly after finding myself a widow, I wrote that the feeling as though I was in the aftermath of an explosion: 

“Imagine sitting in a beautiful home and everything around you seems perfect. All of a sudden, a loud bomb explodes and completely destroys the home and life you’ve built. There are pieces of it everywhere, splinters of wood, bricks lying about. And you’re still sitting in the midst of it, seemingly unscathed, except for a very sharp splinter of that wood must have pierced your heart because it hurts like nothing else has ever before. 

For a few weeks, there are people who gather to help, picking up bricks where they can, mostly while you’re still sitting there in shock and pain. And you so much appreciate it because you’re doing just your best to keep breathing. And then it’s time for you to get up and do the heavy lifting, because no one can rebuild your house (life) except you. 

Your closest loved ones are still there to lend support, to take those 3 a.m. calls and listen and guide, but they have to go back to their own lives and live them, because their house is still in tact. So, you get up alone and brick by brick, start hauling them into some kind of place to rebuild something. You probably don’t even know how to build a house alone and you surely don’t have blueprints or plans; the bomb destroyed all. 

Everythingwas destroyed and all that’s left are memories. 

When you get something propped up, something else breaks or you realize you don’t even have a clue to fix it or maintain it. If you’re lucky, you have friends who can come over and show you how to change the water filter, hook up the generator, calk….whatever. You think you’ve cleared the shrapnel and splinters (the triggers that sets your pain back), but sometimes when you least expect it, those splinters of your former life pokes you, makes you bleed and starts the pain in the heart from that main piece all over again. 

Sometimes, it’s almost crushing, punching you in the gut and laying you up for an entire day. In the meantime, you eat, you work, you take care of those who need you, all while your life is still in a blown out mess. And everything seems harder because rebuilding is so exhausting. 

People who’ve survived this same bomb tell you if you keep working at it, you’ll someday rebuild your home and maybe even enjoy it again. Some days it’s easier to believe them than others. But what everyone agrees on is that just like building a physical home, rebuilding your life takes lots of time, picking up the pieces takes patience.”

Two and half years in, I will add that not only has your life exploded and you’re left in the ruins, but it also feels most days as if you have also been abducted by aliens and dropped onto a different planet. 

Some things seem familiar, like your work. But even that is different now. Sure, you still work to support yourself, but before you were also working for a joint dream. Maybe it was a house, a vacation, and your retirement. All that has changed. You have to figure out what you’re working for now. You have to create solo dreams. 

At the same time, your life takes on things that once seemed so foreign before. This week, I solved the problem of figuring out how to apply anti-itch medicine to a bite right in the middle of my back (I tape a tissue to the end of my back scratcher, put the medicine on the tissue and apply it to my back while standing in front of the mirror). 

Dating as a widow/widower could (and probably is) the subject of a voluminous book. I haven’t experienced a date with anyone but my late spouse since I was 15. It’s something I never thought I’d be doing again. Talk about feeling like a foreigner in a foreign land! 

So, this is life in widowhood….it’s doing things you never have, or haven’t done – maybe like me – in over 40 years. It’s learning to do things on your own. It’s dancing in the middle of my living room alone with the dogs, which seems to make them happy, too. 

This is life now. We can only Live Large in it if we find our way through the chaos and foreign-ness of it all. If we choose it. 

What have you done to help rebuild?