My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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Jean Harris, Charles Durning and my mother

All day, except for the usual Wednesday sortie to Carol’s class and then to the library – and the all-important wine store – otherwise, I have sat here all day and evening at my trusty Mac, dealing with Mum. Writing the obit, getting my brother’s approval of the six drafts, finding and fiddling with the photo, booking the hall for her memorial event, sending it all to the “Globe” and the “Citizen.” Many calls and emails to and from my brother, to Do, to my kids re travel plans, to professional organizers who might help us sort things out, and to Mum’s accountants, my cousin in New York and the lawyer helping with financial matters – because there’s confusion over Mum’s taxes for 2010, on top of everything else, nothing to do with her death. And replying to many condolences. And blogging to you.

Luckily, I had a fresh bottle of wine to get me through. After 5.

I am eating all the tired bits in the fridge and digging into the freezer, because I leave on Sunday for six days at my mother’s condo in Florida. My brother and his family are there now for a 2 week respite, and I’ll get a shorter one, both trips booked months ago, before all this. It will be good to back off for a bit. I go down usually not as a vacation but the opposite, to get a lot of work and reading done in the damp silence. This time, not sure what I’ll accomplish. I’ll try to straighten up my brain.

Noting with interest the other 89-year olds who died in December – Charles Durning, the character actor, and Jean Harris, who murdered her lover Dr. Tarnower in 1980. These two disparate folks are now forever linked in my mind, because they lived exactly the same span of time as Sylvia Kaplan – from 1923 to December 2012. A good long life, for sure.

Saw a friend at the Y; as we ran around, she said, “Oh, and how’s your mum?”
“She’s dead,” I said. I’ve explained all this so often that I don’t want to talk about it any more. But it is a shock to nice people, so I’ll refrain from saying that. Again, I am touched and heartened at all the messages pouring in, some from Mum’s friends and others from mine, from people who read the blog. Thank you all. I am compiling excerpts from her friends’ notes to read at her memorial. For example, from her friend Judy in Edmonton:

An incredibly intelligent, gifted, and fascinating
person!  She, like your father, was a person who made everyone she knew
feel as if he or she was her special and most valued friend.   She
was generous with everything: her money, her time, her interest, her praise,
her affection.   She was funny, she was empathetic; she glowed with
joie de vivre!

All this busyness is good. Wine is good too, and really a lot of food. But mostly the love of friends, descending on me like a mantle of kindness.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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