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Emails to my Therapist:
On Love, Death, Life Changes, Fears, Desires, Spiritual Yearning, Writing and Anything Else on My Mind


January 8, 2019
Nicholas, I’m turning 70 years old at 2:34 this afternoon. A big birthday to anyone who hasn’t yet achieved it, though I know it’s ho-hum to my eighty-something-ish friends. I want to make a deal out of it–increasingly, I feel big birthdays should get their due– but I haven’t fully decided how. What I know […] Read More

Eight Ways I’m Going to Improve My Memory

January 1, 2019
Nicholas–My New Year’s Resolve: Find my car in the parking lot. That’s a shorthand way of saying that I mean to pay better attention to what I’m doing and reliably remember what I need to remember. I’m going to improve my memory, at least get it back to where it was a year ago when […] Read More

frantic about Christmas

Feeling Frantic About Christmas?–Email to My Therapist (3 min read)

December 20, 2018
Dear Nicholas, So far I’ve failed at being frantic about Christmas this year. I can’t say that this is a sign of serenity. Instead, I seem a bit lackadaisical about it. Whatever else the holiday is to me, it has long been a December 25 deadline.  And I’ve never even done much about it. I […] Read More

Powerless! The Unsettling Effects of Power Outage

December 11, 2018
Dear Nicholas, The power came back on at my house 36 hours after the start of the weekend winter storm. Now I feel like a complete person again. It was only a day and a half– hardly a blip.  But effects of power outage are a psychic shock, much more than simply a sudden inconvenience. […] Read More

thankful for Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody

Feeling Thankful for Freddie Mercury

November 21, 2018
Dear Nicholas, I’d never heard of the guy until a few months ago or his band Queen. Never expected to be feeling thankful for Freddie Mercury on this Thanksgiving holiday. My acquaintance with his music came about in a curious manner. At Sea With Scaramouches By chance, I’d  joined the first (and for me, last) […] Read More

stage of grief old letters baby shoe

Surprising New Stage of Grief

November 12, 2018
Dear Nicholas, My new stage of grief is flashing lights. Visual distortions, like at the start of a migraine, but the headache never happens, and the lights go on and on. This past Friday morning, my brothers and I began the process of dismantling the homestead, clearing out my mother‘s house. Much of the time, […] Read More

coping with losing mom, flowers, funeral, brilliant color, memorial service,

Coping With Losing Mom

October 31, 2018
Dear Nicholas, This subject gets harder to write about. Writing a tribute was easy. Now three weeks after  her death, losing Mom is no longer a hurricane-style crisis full of shock and activity, but instead the start of coping with losing Mom, a long jagged process of dealing with the emotions and changes. First, we […] Read More

losing Mom

Losing Mom

October 12, 2018
Dear Nicholas, I don’t know how to begin about losing Mom. Except to say: she died. My mother.  I don’t know what I want to “discuss,” except maybe just to talk about her.  Her name was Margaret Tucker Payne, nickname “Tuck.” Tuck Forever For so long, we — my brothers and I, and a lot […] Read More

riding out hurricane Florence Wilmington

Riding out Hurricane Florence in Wilmington

September 25, 2018
Dear Nicholas, I’m sorting through the emotional results of riding out Hurricane Florence in my hometown of Wilmington. I was there ten days, nine without power. My brothers and I were keeping Mom company; she’s 96, has sat out many hurricanes there and didn’t want to evacuate. This is not a position paper. It’s an […] Read More

Low Energy Warning Signs?

August 28, 2018
  Dear Nicholas, I would like to have a gizmo that tells me when low energy/energy crash threatens. Cars have such devices. Suppose we had to guess when we were about to run out of gas! The shoulders of roads would be crowded with people waiting for AAA to arrive. Surely there’s some way to […] Read More

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