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Author of Widowish, A Memoir, an @Amazon bestseller 🎉 A 100 Best Grief Book of All Time🎉 A @goodreads Top 48 Book of 2021 🎉 Find out more at
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Sometimes I think that my boyfriend is better looking than me. He’s handsome in a way that’s sort of rugged and effortless. He’s not a dude or an accountant. He’s a musician so his handsome is of the artistic variety — a mix of good looks, sex appeal, and charisma.

He’s got a mass of thick dark hair that now has streaks of grey. You could call it salt and pepper, but he’s spicier than either of those. He’s also got a shadow of a beard at all times, a full, sharp nose that I like to trace with my…

I went to the weed shop with my twenty-year-old daughter the other night. “I’m running low on weed.” She smiled, “In case you want to go to with me to get more.” I didn’t even pretend to feign shock. My daughter smokes pot and given the current state of the world, now I sort of do, too.

When she was still away at college, one thousand miles from home, and news of the coronavirus was just starting to break, I was in a literal panic. I was afraid of state borders closing. I worried about air travel and the contagiousness…

Kelly Sikkema

Sometimes, I have no idea what my boyfriend is talking about. He’ll be saying something about someone from work, but halfway through I’ll realize he’s relaying a conversation he overheard at the post office… or he’s telling me a story about what I think is his childhood, but then I discover it’s something from a movie he once saw. It’s not that I’m a bad listener, or that he’s a bad story teller, but I sometimes think we speak different languages.

I love this man. I like him a lot, too. After five years together, we have a really nice…

…(And Now I See Little Deaths Everywhere)

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My husband’s birthday is this month and even though he is no longer with us, my daughter and I will still celebrate. Joel had MS but a few months after he turned 50, he died from complications of Multiple Sclerosis and West Nile Virus. Dying from a mosquito bite seems so quaint in the age of coronavirus.

He has been gone for almost seven years. Seven Years. He has missed the entirety of our daughter’s teenage-hood. Graduations and driving and boys…. And so much more. Our neighborhood alone, thanks to both the economy…

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When I told my 21-year-old daughter that I was getting braces, she said, “Oh good! They’ll match your menopausal acne!” She was only half-joking. While so many of my friends are consulting with their doctors about night sweats and depleting hormones, I’m running into the ortho along with 12-year-olds to get more wax for my aching teeth, and to do a rubber band check.

At 50-plus years old, I’m wearing braces for the first time in my life. I never had them as a child as I was told that my bite was fine, and my teeth were straight enough…

We celebrated my husband’s fifty-eighth birthday recently, although he never turned older than fifty. That’s how old he was when he died: fifty years and almost three months. I have shared extensively about Joel and losing him to MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and the West Nile virus. There have been so many essays, so many readings, and of course, Widowish, my memoir, which is centered around our life and love and what life was like the first year after his death.

I lost my husband; our daughter lost her father. Our friends lost their friend, Joel’s parents lost their son, and…

Photo of the author by her daughter

Icry every time I pick up my daughter from the airport. I see her sweet little face and those green eyes like her daddy’s searching for me as I sit in my semi-parked car hoping security won’t tell me to move and circle the airport again.

My daughter sports her usual travel ensemble of sorority sweatshirt and black leggings. As she lugs her backpack and wheels her luggage behind her, I think to myself, It would be so easy if this were Joel coming home from a trip. We’d reunite outside baggage claim like it was the most ordinary thing…

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

I miss wearing my black wedge booties. I miss wearing my Louis Vuitton scarf that I bought myself as a gift, just because. And I really miss wearing lipstick. If I’m ever feeling blah, I blot on some Mac Viva Glam — blot because otherwise it’s too dark — and it does the trick. Lipstick makes me feel “dressed” even if I’m just going to Trader Joe’s. …

Photo by Oskar Kadaksoo on Unsplash

“I’m getting a lot of stares, but I think it’s because everyone is jealous.” I texted my friend from my seat on the airplane. “I feel very Covid-safe, and they probably don’t.”

The text accompanied a photo I took of myself in the full-length, airport bathroom mirror about a half an hour earlier. In it, I’m wearing my colorful face mask which features images of Dr. Fauci, my glasses, jeans and a sweatshirt, as well as my black compression socks and new-ish Birkenstocks.

My daughter, who I was taking the two hour flight up north to visit, said it was…

Photo by Luke Southern on Unsplash

I got the bill for my homeowners insurance recently and got very confused. There’s the usual — dwelling coverage and personal property coverage — but then there was a charge for earthquake coverage — that part threw me. “This is a dad question,” I thought. Only, my dad wouldn’t be helpful. He’s a life-long New Yorker and doesn’t know from earthquakes. Plus, he just turned 80. …

Melissa Gould

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