When distractions — and watchful angels — soothe grief

They say the weeks leading up to the anniversary of a loved one’s death are harder than the day itself. 

I’d say that’s true. 

Sometimes the plan is to not have a plan

There is the dream my wife has every so often that haunts her. She’s on vacation and it’s the last day, time to pack up and go back home, and she realizes with this profoundly sick, panicky feeling that she hasn’t been to the beach even once and now it’s too late. 

Our epic RV adventure

This week’s column comes to you from a campground picnic table in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My boyfriend and I are on a weeklong RV adventure with our cumulative seven children. In January, we decided against a yearly beach trip and instead created a plan to visit three different amusement parks via giant recreational vehicle. 

This must be the place: The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own

Stepping into the lobby of the Days Inn just north of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, last Wednesday evening, I was immediately hit with the faint smell of cigarettes. The sign next to the front desk of the lodging establishment said “No Smoking: $150 Charge.” 

This must be the place: Ode to Cousin Nate, ode to sharing the love of music

Nathan Manuel Arruda, age 42, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, June 28, at his place of residence in Rouses Point, New York. 

Juggling the five balls

I recently went on a girls’ beach trip to Hilton Head Island. It’d been a while since I enjoyed surf and sun with my female tribe. The last all-female excursion was in August of 2016, the same week my mom passed away unexpectedly. She’d been battling cancer but was projected to live much longer, so her death came as a shock. Every time I thought about a girls’ beach trip, my stomach knotted. I associated the timing of my previous experience with my mother’s passing. 

A time for personal growth, reorienting

My last column was about reorienting oneself after a time of loss or change. The entire world is working to do that now that the height of the pandemic has seemingly, hopefully passed. I didn’t realize how disoriented I felt during COVID-19 until now. It’s as if a veil has lifted and life is full of possibility again. 

This must be the place: Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am

Coming to a stop at the end of the off-ramp of Exit 40 along Interstate 87 last Saturday evening, I turned right and headed down the Spellman Road. Entering the small hamlet of Beekmantown, New York, it’s a few miles from the off-ramp to my parents’ farmhouse. 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dr. Diana Messer, a forensic anthropology professor at Western Carolina University, is working on groundbreaking research that could drastically improve the methods used to estimate the timeframe of a child’s injury, which is essential evidence needed to identify and prosecute child abuse cases.

My own 1971 history project

My boyfriend and I recently bought a vintage house. It was built in 1971. When the realtor gave us a tour, I furrowed my brow trying to imagine our blended family of seven settling into such an abode. Prior to finding this house, we’d been looking at modern homes with open floor plans, bright and airy kitchens, two-car garages and large closets. 

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