After a Christmas day screening of Mary Poppins Returns, my husband, 7-year-old daughter and I stood in the lobby of the movie theater, discussing the meaning of the film. “Fiscal…responsibility,” said my practical spouse, impressed by how the magic of compound interest had saved 17 Cherry Tree Lane from the clutches of bank repossession. But our daughter had quite a different take. “Hold your loved ones tight,” she said. Her favorite moment in the film? “When the father realizes the kids are right,” as… >> Read More
I have book lists for all occasions, formed from whatever kept my attention during particular chapters of my life: college, pregnancy, parenting a newborn, as well as some less joyful times, too.…When my mother was seriously ill with leukemia, I read books by other people who had cancer. The writers didn't all survive, but their stories were beautiful, hopeful, grateful, and inspiring. After my mother's death, I searched sites like Kveller for keywords like grief, kaddish, and shiva. I found Modern Loss and was able to… >> Read More
When a Jewish person dies, the traditional way to grieve includes sitting shiva, a seven-day mourning period when visitors arrive to comfort and care for the bereaved. At the end of the week, the…mourners "get up" and resume more of their normal activities. Some people signify "getting up" by taking a walk around the block. But when I got up from shiva after my mother's death this spring, I ran a marathon. Let me explain. I signed up for my fourth full marathon two weeks before my mother's… >> Read More
They say laughter is the best medicine, but it’s hard to remember that when faced with life-threatening news.
When the dermatologist first said the word “melanoma,” my mind fizzed into a…state of paralytic shock, especially as this appointment was supposed to be a standard cosmetic procedure. The grayish/blue mole that emerged from my cheek had injured my vanity, but thoughts of it being anything other than a superficial nuisance never crossed my mind. “It looks dangerous,” the dermatologist frowned, lowering her hand-held light. “I recommend… >> Read More
I was nervous. The assistant principal running late, so I sat alone in a hard chair in a Brooklyn high school guidance office. I wiped my sweaty palms on my new suit, hoping I looked older than the…students. I tried to breathe as the minutes dragged on. A redhead with wild curls peered into the office, and raised her eyebrow at me. “I’m interviewing for the guidance position,” I told her. “I’m Paulette,” she said, leaning against the doorway. “I’m a counselor, too.” By the time the assistant principal came into the… >> Read More