What’s in a book title?

The title of my memoir is Leaving the Hall Light On (Dream of Things). A lot of people ask me what the title means. Here's an explanation. At first I believed—my magical thinking—that if I left the hall light on, if we didn’t move away from our house, if we didn’t change our telephone number, Paul, our son who took his life at age 27, would know how to make his way back. Paul would know we were still here waiting for him. For a long time I waited for that familiar sound of his Volvo coming into the garage, the sound of the door from the garage slamming as he entered the house and went down the hall to his room, the sound of him walking around the house at night, the sound of the door opening and closing as he went in and out of the house. In fact, for a while I thought I heard those sounds. And for a long time I left most of the things in his room alone for fear of removing his presence there. For a long time I refused to give away his things in case he would need them when he … [Read more...]

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Aunt Helen – always in our hearts

My beautiful and  glamorous Aunt Helen died peacefully last evening at age ninety-seven. She had a wonderful life with dynamic Uncle Charlie (unfortunately he left us many years ago and way too soon), her five children, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. I always loved her calm elegance and looked to her as a role model. We will miss this woman who was fabulous in every way, and we are thrilled to have had her in our lives for so long. Here she is at age eighteen - when everyone thought she looked like the movie star, Hedy LaMar. And since she was a part of my life for all of my life, I remember that she looked this way well into her 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. And a more recent photo. As you can see, she was still beautiful in her old age.   … [Read more...]

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Thirteen years

Yesterday it was thirteen years since Paul died. I have a lot of trouble getting my arms around that. We’ve indeed moved on and learned to live without him, but that day when we found his dead body still seems like yesterday. I remember every detail. But, then, how could I forget? A last photo As usual, we went to the cemetery. Grass had grown over his gravestone, so we tore it away to have room to place the little smooth stones each of us brought. But yesterday it was so hot, and the sun so bright, I couldn’t stay long. As has been happening with my sun allergy lately, my back began itching so badly I had to leave. I wrote this little piece yesterday at my writing group meeting. I decided to attend even though this was a day of remembrance. I find I do better with a place to go or something to do. It helps. But, then of course I wrote about Paul and visiting his gravesite. The prompt was: Heat We stood over Paul’s gravestone this morning and left smooth black stones to m … [Read more...]

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