If you’ve ever lost someone, you know how it is to be always waiting for them to do that one annoying thing they always did.

You may have their ashes in a box on your nightstand. Maybe you even held their hand as they died. Hell, you were the one who, in the fog of grief, was asked about their funeral arrangements. You know in your mind and heart and soul that person’s spirit is floating around in the great beyond.

And yet…

you still expect a phone call

a text

a card in the mailbox

When it doesn’t happen…

As I lounged on the display model of my dream sofa a couple years ago, I thought of my dog’s velociraptor nails on that supple saddle leather. If I bought such an expanse of tender leather, not only would I have to keep the sofa conditioned, I’d be forced to give Charlie a routine manicure.

After the first week of buffing out scratches (and still being too fearful to clip the beast’s toenails), my inner critic pointed out: “See! You don’t take care of things!”

My life over the past five years could be described as different variations of fight…

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It is ironic the year I am applying for permanent residency in Germany is also the year I have most deeply wanted to go back to America. Part of this longing is the pandemic, I simply miss my family, but it is also political. Over the past four years, people have stopped asking why I want to live in Germany. While America has glaring problems with healthcare, education, LGBTQ+ rights, and systemic racism, the recent election was like seeing a tender green shoot sprout from the snow.

Of course, even if I were treading American soil, I wouldn’t yet be…

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I have this bad habit of internalizing stress. Last year I got shingles after dislocating my shoulder. I had acute abdominal pain I swore was cancer. (All the tests came back fine). When I’ve had a lot of stress, my immune system takes a hit, and I end up with blisters on my eye. Sexy, right? This is the image I don’t usually share on my blog.

These psychosomatic issues make me feel like I’m crazy. It is literally my body tearing itself apart over worries in my head. I’ve been listening to the audiobook “The Body Keeps the Score”…

Too much stress. Too little sleep. This is me breaking together.

,Ich breche zusammen’ is one of the first German phrases to confuse the hell out of me. “Break” was clear, but to add the word “together” made no sense. How can one “break together?” Of course, that was my B1 level self literally translating, which as we all know, should not be attempted. In reality the phrase can mean to “break down” or “fall apart.”

Und dieser Woche, ich brach zusammen.

And this week I broke down.

The events of the past ten days have left me feeling as if I’ve been run over by a train.

My thoughts are…

How to make a house into a home

Grandpa and Grandma L

I am 47 and am lucky to have two dynamic grandmas. One is a social butterfly; the other prefers to stay at home (even before COVID came along). Grandma O tends her garden and Grandma L tends her menagerie. Both are active; both are widows; and most importantly, both know what makes a house a home. Grandma O and Grandma L still live in the houses they’ve had since before I was born; and when I visit, each place feels like home.

Each was (and continues to be) a safe place for me. Each makes me feel loved and accepted…

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If you were to formulate an opinion of me based on social media, you would see a strong, positive-thinking, widowed mom, kicking the world’s ass and taking names. It’s not that I’m deliberately presenting this confident woman to the world — it’s simply in those moments when I’m lying in bed in a fetal position, the last thing I want to do is reach for the keyboard.

There are times when stress sends me into a spiral of self-doubt.

I grew up with a perfectionist, over-the-top mom. She was gorgeous. Put together. She had one of those floors off which…

Photo 3978451 © Christopher King | Dreamstime.com

I have this weird anxiety when something comes in the mail. It’s because historically, anything that came in the mail was stressful — an unexpected bill, unintelligible legal documents in German, the energy company wanting me to somehow read the meter (which I always screw up, and they end up calling to talk me through it).

Instead of opening the mail, I would put it in a stack and try to forget about it. The thing is, I want to be the kind of woman who opens the mail as soon as she gets it. Not only do I want…

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The wild ride of online dating came to a halt on my date with the Lumberjack. Instead of rolling gently into the station, this ride ended with an unexpected bump into the barricade. A little dazed, I unlatched my safety harness and made my way on shaky legs to the exit, feeling a little high and a little scared. Thankfully, the Lumberjack was there to take my hand.

He’s not really a Lumberjack, by the way. He’s simply from Canada. …

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Many of you have been asking what happened to Mr. Labrador, and I can’t believe an entire month has gone by since I’ve related the gossip. Partly, it’s because the story hasn’t been that juicy lately. The lack of oomph led to massive writer’s block. I began three different narratives, which are sitting in my ‘edit’ bin.

The big problem with my writer’s brain is I can envision myself almost anywhere. Does the guy like sailing? I’ve never been, but yet I could see myself lounging on deck while he takes us across the world. Is he an introvert who…

Keri Lewis

American expat in Germany, formerly conservative homeschool mom now navigating widowhood; runner, writer, Crossfitter, trying to figure **it out

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