One More Thing to Stress About: Midlife Stress and Your Brain

After the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., each day brings a new set of challenges: deadlines and responsibility at work, AP history homework, French quizzes, soccer carpools, meetings at school, dogs that need to be walked and a hardworking husband who is rarely home before 8 p.m. My mother died in February after a difficult illness, and still I sometimes wake in the middle of the night in grief and panic. Add to that list a new study to …

Home Is Where the People Are

“Are you sure?” I asked my uncle. I looked around the basement and waited for the catch. “Sure, I’m sure. Take it,” he said, dusting off the black leather. “You’ve got room in the truck and space in the new place. It’s yours.” Suddenly, Pop Pop‘s living room chair belonged to me. It was last month, and my boyfriend and I were en route to Ohio, where we now live and where I go to school. We had said our …

A Time to Remember

I had not seen Rose Toren for almost 15 years, until last weekend, when I decided that if anyone deserved tribute on this special holiday of memory and celebration, it was she. Memorials apply to many sorrows. She had just reached the age of 90 and, beset by failing health, seemed frail and detached, paying the price of time and grief in a prevailing mood of sadness that had deepened over the years. But, despite that, one could also clearly …

All the Lonely People

I received word the other day that a long-time acquaintance had died. We had worked together in the beginning years of my newspaper career, and while we hadn’t been that close, he nonetheless had represented a link in a circle of friends that was growing smaller every year. I was losing my history. Join the discussion: Grief and Loss – How do you cope? We were a hard-drinking, cigarette-smoking, fun-loving bunch back then, not eating right or exercising or generally …

How a Random Act of Kindness Helped Me Heal

It was my first trip to Pennsylvania since Pop Pop passed away, and I was equal parts excited and apprehensive – excited because it was (and is) my favorite place on the planet; nervous because my favorite person wouldn’t be there. My grandfather, the Bernie in my blog Arthur & Bernie, wouldn’t be in his chair in the living room, or a short walk away at the nursing home, where he spent his final year. Would it be depressing? Would …

The Gift I Didn’t Know I Needed

Before my Pop Pop died, we had a conversation about our conversations. “I miss our talks,” I said one night, sitting by his bed. It was August and, though the doctors said he was in good health, he was miserable. During the day, the pain consumed him and I wondered where my grandfather went, but for an hour or so at bedtime, the Pop Pop I knew came back. “I know you’re hurting, and it’s hard to think about anything …