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Karen Paul
Writing at the still point of the turning world.
Recent Activity
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It is May 28. Each day, since May 18, I have been experiencing the slow, drawn-out countdown to the one-year anniversary of my husband’s death. It is a stressful and sad time, one in which I've been feeling the sadness physically. Muscle memory. I am spacey, unsteady on my feet.... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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It’s still hard. And I’m hard on myself, convinced that, as Superwoman, I should be able to push through all the hard with relative ease. But the truth is, I can’t. We are now just about 11 months in. Eleven months since my husband died, and one year and 11... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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It’s time to change my name. I’m reverting to what is called, in our sexist society, my “maiden” name, fair maiden that I am. It’s actually my father’s name, and his father’s name, and so on. My children and I will no longer share a last name. Their response? “It’s... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There’s an almost-full moon tonight, which means that most of my friends who are celebrating Passover, starting tomorrow night with the first Seder, are cleaning out their cupboards and refrigerators and ovens and taking out their second set of dishes to celebrate the feast of freedom. I did a different... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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April is poetry month, and so I’ve been digging into my favorite collections, looking for solace, inspiration and hope. I’m finding poetry to be the most calming form of reading; concise, profound, and able to burrow right into the nugget of my heart and soul. Last night I had the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The Winds of March The old adage that March comes in like a lion has held a special place in my heart for the past 19 years. Nineteen years ago, on March 5, my son, Ari, was born. This is one of the “firsts” in my year of firsts that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I Fate One of the things I’ve learned this year is how much I still have to learn. That’s one of the residual lessons of terminal illness – you think you’ve got this living thing down pretty well, and then boom! Your world is turned upside down and you realize... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I am often asked how I'm doing, now 7+ months out from my husband’s death; 19+ months out from the day he collapsed from a seizure caused by a lethal brain tumor and our lives were turned upside down. I never mind the question, and I always try to answer... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Six months ago, close to 300 people wandered through our house over the course of three days, paying shiva visits after the death of my husband. Each night, we had at least 50 people or so joining us for the shiva minyan, an evening service in which we prayed collectively,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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“Code switching: the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.” I’ve been aware of code switching since I was the white girl in the hood, and had to learn the vernacular of my mostly black peers, which differed greatly from my parents’ conversations... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I wore my husband’s old leather bomber jacket today. It had never occurred to me to take it out of the coat closet and try it on, but yesterday, a friend came by to help me sort out some legalistic estate memos that I was having trouble understanding, and when... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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So it's Thanksgiving morning, early early, I'm up long before the sunrise. At my sister's house in Connecticut, where the streets are lined with the leaves from the mostly bare trees and there are white picket fences and New England churches with white spires and a pretty river that runs... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I find that I’m a little scary to people these days. I try to make up for it (when I have the energy) by being extra warm and huggy and embracing, but never the less, there’s often a bit of fear/worry/backing off that occurs when I meet people out in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Yesterday, fishing the makings for our sukkah out of our somewhat dusty attic, I was overcome by an allergy attack that lasted 12 hours. Despite having dust allergies, I haven’t had a reaction like that for over 20 years, and this morning, my core muscles ached from the hours of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Yesterday was the first day of the Jewish new year. I like that it is a seasonal occurrence – coming with the ripening of the fall fruits, the cooling of the air. The red of the pomegranate, which symbolizes renewal, birth, and fertility, and its seeds supposedly numbering 613, the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The leaves are starting to crunch, the squirrels are neurotically gathering acorns and the cicada’s plaintive songs are slowing down from the furiousness of when they first appeared mid-August. It’s cooling off a bit, school is in full swing and I’m contemplating the always-happily anticipated return of tights to my... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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A million years ago, when I was newly married but not yet raising children, a trip to the grocery store was a romantic outing. My handsome young husband and I would get into his tiny Isuzu, buzz down to the Social Safeway in Georgetown from our 2nd floor floor-through in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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In addition to trying to recapture a sense of fun, life and adventure this summer, the summer after my husband died, I am also awash in tasks. While I have been a fairly well organized person most of my life, I'm finding that my organizational skills have suffered in a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
It was a dark and stormy night. No, wait, that was last time. Over two years ago. This time, it was a hot and humid late afternoon. We were once again on the Tel Aviv port. Two years ago, it was with someone with whom I was just becoming friends.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Today is July 18. One month ago, my husband died. One year ago, I wrote an essay on how he was the plant whisperer in our home, tending to our legions of plants, both indoors and out, and how I hoped to try to continue his legacy. One of those... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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My dining table looks like the center of my heart right now – filled to the rim with sweet things everywhere you turn. That’s shiva in America; people are asked to bring “nourishing” food (at least at my synagogue) and voila! I have more cakes and cookies and brownies and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The journey is over for my husband – he died yesterday, June 18, after struggling for a year and 15 days with a fatal brain tumor. I don’t like the word “battling”, although many of our beloveds are using it and I harbor them no ill will, but a battle... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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“Broadcast News” is one of my all-time favorite movies. At the time it was released, in the late 1980s, I had no idea that I would meet and marry a journalist two years later; I simply loved the crisp, biting dialogue and the triangulated love story between the handsome but... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Several weeks ago I dropped my phone as I was rushing to get to work. The protective cover didn’t shatter into a million shards, but rather, since I dropped it on concrete, its face is now pocked by what looks like miniature bullet-holes. Of course I ordered a new phone... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Over the past several weeks, in addition to taking care of my own terminally ill husband, I’ve attended the funeral of the 20-year-old son of friends, learned of the death of one of my college apartment-mates, and learned of another acquaintance with brain cancer. My 50s sure haven’t been fabulous... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at Dwelling in Possibility