The summer of 1969, without warning, a young black girl was shot in the back of the head and killed by a white police officer.  Vivian Strong and her friends were having a party in a vacant apartment, playing music and dancing.  She was 14. I was 13 that summer. I don’t remember hearing about…

Voices got loud. Arms waved. Interruptions abounded. We’d had cocktails with our antipasto and wine with our chicken piccata and pasta. Emotions ran high as the talk turned to politics. Catching a momentary pause in the clamor, Linda spoke. “You know,” she said, pausing for her quiet voice to be heard. “You know, my friends…

“We looked great 20 years ago,” she said with a sigh, reflecting on the eve of the millennia when we gave champagne toasts to the new decade. We’d been invited to a country club and I wore a black velvet floor length gown. We gathered in front of the ice sculpture for our picture. Hopeful,…

“It’ll be different,” she said, the tears filling her eyes revealing what her determined smile failed to hide. This Christmas was going to be painful. “It’s bittersweet,” he said. “This is a hard time of year for my wife.” “Honestly, I dread it.” I’ve lost track of the number of people who have exposed their…

How does one escape an epidemic? Loneliness is rising at an alarming rate despite us having more opportunities for communication and connection than ever. Loneliness would have been the logical response for so many seasons of my life.  Not only the divorce from my first husband, but also the years of marriage preceding it when…

“You deserve it,” he says. I’m awkwardly silent. I feel more curiosity than satisfaction. Why do I deserve it? Would I be entitled to it even if I didn’t deserve it? Does it matter whether I deserve it? Other people deserve it, too, so why didn’t they get it? Am I somehow special? My charmed…

By the time I was thirteen I’d concluded that dreaming would not get me that hot pink paisley swimsuit with ruffles on display in the junior department of the Brandeis Department store downtown. I’d been babysitting for years and knew that only money from my summer nanny job and a layaway plan would. Instead of…

His rail thin body looked childlike under the sheets. At 35 his once muscular body could no longer stand without someone holding him up.  AIDS was about to take his life. The lessons I learned from my brother Tim that November were lost on me then. 25 years later, I see. I didn’t know that…

Interior of Saint Cecilia’s Cathedral I dress in my Sunday best. I arrive in time to take a seat next to her mother and grandmother.  I tuck the narrow gold satin ribbon into the page for hymn #483. Simultaneously I’m an outsider and I am at home. It is confirmation day for young Sophia, whom…

Flowers on the altar, photos of loved ones, food that was their favorite—Dia de Los Muertos arrives each November 1 and we celebrate the “Day of the Dead” with friends. We honor those we have loved and lost. We take turns sharing stories and memories of those who’ve left this earth, but their impact remains….