How to be a community elder after losing your spouse


To the editor: I loved Bruce Wexler's moving op-ed about living alone for the first time in over 40 years after his wife died. I have a suggestion.

Wexler obviously has the gift of being a veteran writer. He can claim the role of elder and begin to “age” with others of any age in his community by giving away his gift in writing workshops for those who long to receive guidance from someone like him.

Old age is a two-way street. Both Wexler's lives and those of the younger ones will be enriched thanks to intergenerational dialogue.

The younger ones sometimes ask me: “Where are the older ones? “When we need elders, we can’t find them.” Answer his call.

One response to loneliness is conscious aging. Wexler's late wife seems like a lovely life partner. I have a feeling she would also encourage him to take her gift to the world and start giving it away.

Don Kilhefner, Los Angeles.

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To the editor: I lost my wife after 55 years of marriage last August. Wexler perfectly expressed the feelings I have experienced since then.

Like Wexler, I am not a very “social” person and relied on my spouse to cultivate friendships and outings. Everything has changed since I've been alone.

Grief groups help some, but hearing others struggling with the same issues I face somehow makes it more real and less comforting. The idea of ​​dating is more than possible at this point.

The only thing that has helped me a little is the adoption of Stoic philosophy, the understanding that everything in life is part of nature's plan and that living a moral life is something I can control.

Hats off to Wexler for putting into words what loneliness feels like after decades of companionship and marriage.

Randy Sultan, Los Angeles

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To the editor: My wife of 40 years died in October. She had been on dialysis for three years. This is the first time I'm alone.

I decided to make immediate changes in my life. I joined a grief group and realized I would suffer from this loss my entire life, so I became active.

I joined the Plato Society where there are sessions on intellectual topics, the Sierra Club for hiking, and a beginner's square dancing class, which I dropped out of. I'm starting a beginner ceramics class soon.

I am lucky to have a support group of family and friends, which I appreciate. Surprisingly, I don't feel lonely, as my days are full and I am optimistic about the future.

Peter Blau, Venice

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