Life Without Judgment

Tell the whole story, keep the whole person

It’s common to idealize a loved one who has died. From what I can tell, this idealization is a natural reaction, although I’m not exactly sure what purpose it achieves. Perhaps we recall the best parts of those we’ve lost more than the worst parts because thinking of the good things brings some light into the dark side of our grief. Perhaps this tendency protects us from too much pain, much in the way that we tend to remember the rosy parts of a childhood event and not the difficulty. Poring through the memories of my childhood winters, for example, the memories that have stuck with me include gleeful sledding down the Big Hill (with a bonus slide onto the frozen creek after an especially fa

People stay close in everyday ways

A friend was at my house on the fourth of July, and we were talking in the kitchen while I made a salad. As I started peeling a vegetable over the trashcan, her face lit up. She told me that ever since a particular Passover seder years ago, she thinks of me when she uses a peeler. Back when I lived with my husband and brother we had a couple of memorable seders in our apartment, and before one of them this friend had spent time with me in the kitchen as I peeled countless potatoes for a savory kugel. In her mind, the memory has paired me with the peeler since then. This made me think about the things I see and do, day in and day out, that remind me of people I care about. The more I thoug

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