About

Hi, I’m Teresa.

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(me, circa 1985)

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If you feel compelled to contact me, you can do so here: houseofteresa123@gmail.com

Who I am: I research the heck out of everything. To-do lists make me happy. I like writing and politics. I’m a vegetarian who strives to mostly eat natural food and exercise frequently. I love books and scheming my next travel destination (see where I’ve been below).

I unexpectedly became a young widow in April 2016. It has changed my life. This isn’t the life I planned, but I’m figuring it out, and I refuse to be lumped in a pathetic “widow” category for the rest of my life. I’m too stubborn to let this be the end of my story, so I’ve actively chosen to be happy, to continue filling the pages of my story with new plot twists and characters and to focus on the success of having been married to my husband, rather than the sadness of losing him. It doesn’t mean that I’m always “happy,” but it does mean that I choose to not let myself drown in sorrow. I’m a work in progress.

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Vegas, November 2015.

I have three children, ages 7, almost 4, and 2.

Before becoming a widow, I wrote this in my profile: Motherhood is my most important job, but it isn’t my only purpose and it doesn’t entirely define me. I fight to be my own person and to resist the societal label of MOM that is automatically attached to a woman who has a family. We are more than that. We have careers, hobbies, ambition. A man doesn’t sacrifice his identity as an accountant or lawyer or golfer or painter or whatever. Why do we pigeonhole women into one slot as “a mom”?

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Our first family picture as a party of 4. The teddy bears were made with my husband’s clothes. 

Now as a widow, I can attest to the importance of my long-held feminist attitudes. I know it might sound strange to focus on feminism in the experience of losing your husband, but if I didn’t know who I was as a woman, if I only knew myself as a wife and a mother, I would be in much worse shape right now. I would be lost. I have interests and passions and purpose in my life (in addition to being the best mother and wife I could be) that I never wanted to give up, like writing and traveling, and those are the things in my life that haven’t changed. I had the them before, during, and after marriage. I’m still me, but arguably a better version of me.

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Montmartre, Paris 2014, with #1 and #2

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Our #3, who came in March 2015

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Freiburg, Germany. June 2016. 

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Last family trip. Playa del Carmen, February 2016

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August 2015

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Legoland, April 2016. A few weeks before Kenneth died.

I write about grief a lot. It’s my reality. It doesn’t go away, it just becomes easier to manage. It’s difficult to wrap your mind around such a twisted, odd change in reality. I still find myself wondering if this is real.

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Germany 2016, first trip without Kenneth.

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Kyoto, Japan. January 2017

My articles: Surviving Loss: You Always Have Choice

What I Love (in no particular order): writing, reading, traveling to new places, getting to know a city, political activism, bookstores, Pinterest, feminism, fairy tales, beach vacations, a book I can’t put down, history, organization, buying new journals, teaching, life-long learning, movies, trying to garden (usually unsuccessfully), running, kickboxing, yoga, health, and making to-do lists.

Favorite Quotes: “Our primary purpose in this life is to help others and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” –Dalai Lama

and

The Japanese saying “shikata ga nai.” 仕方が無い   It means “it can’t be helped.”

and

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For the story behind my 1st tattoo, read this.

Favorite Music: Francoise Hardy, OMD, Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stones, New Order, Oingo Boingo, Tom Petty, Grateful Dead, Mazzy Star, Dire Straits, Simon and Garfunkle, and Feist.

Places I’ve Been: In the United States: California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, DC, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arkansas, Virginia, and Idaho.

Outside the United States: Mexico (7x), England (4X), Scotland, the Netherlands, Spain, France (3X), Germany (2x), Israel (4X), Egypt, Italy (3x), Japan, Hungary, Croatia, China, Romania, and Greece.

My Favorite Movie: The Thorn Birds and The Godfather. I used to watch The Thorn Birds over and over again like it was Sesame Street as a child. I’m still not quite sure what my mom was thinking when she allowed me to watch it.

Favorite Books: An unfair question, since there are so many great books in the world. If I had to choose, I would go with Les Miserables, The Giving Tree, Fahrenheit 451, Essays in Existentialism, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Road, Daughter of Fortune, and Animal Farm. But I love so many others too. I’m pretty partial to the Federalist Papers (collection) and “boring” things like that, too. I also love Neil Gaiman’s novels.

Favorite Writing Books: James Scott Bell has a number of excellent ones, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King, and Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark.

Influences (Literary and Others): My deceased husband, my grandmother, my teachers throughout life, Maya Angelou, Bernie Sanders, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Martin Luther King Jr., Colleen McCullough, Jean-Paul Sartre, the Dalai Lama, Isabel Allende, Jane Goodall, Abigail Adams, Rachel Carson, Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and any person (particularly women) who have shown the strength to rise above their circumstances and make a difference in this world.

11 comments

Add Yours
  1. Lisa

    Read your article on the death of your husband and was so touched, impressed, moved.
    Having lost my mother at age 7 I understand your pain from a different view. I watched my father stagger and falter and then send us to relatives. With nothing of my mothers, nothing to hold on to.
    You are doing it right. Guiding your children to understand they have a choice-finding the good, the lesson, the strength -these and your love will lift them up when you can’t. Thank you

    • House of Teresa

      Thank you so much for your comment. I love to hear the child’s perspective. I constantly wonder what my children are really thinking. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, I realize this is worse for them. I still have my parents. I will never fully understand what this means to them.

  2. Mark

    Beautiful, brave article on Tiny Buddha. It touched me very much and I’m sure will have a similar effect on all kinds of people. Keep being you, you sound pretty amazing.

  3. Athina

    I came across your blog after reading the article in Tiny Buddha and read every bit of it. You are just brilliant. It is amazing how you decide to go on and it inspires me. I like your perspective. 4 months after my mother’s sudden death, I am nowhere like that, even though I’m your age with three young kids and a husband who’s still alive. I will keep coming back.

  4. Roshnee

    Dear Teresa,
    I also came across your article
    on Tiny Buddha. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your husband. I will continue to read your beautiful writing and wise words of wisdom. There is a blog I follow it’s called Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen. Her writing also speaks to the soul of those who are suffering through the loss of loved ones.
    Thank you again.

  5. Sruthi

    Hi Teresa,
    I lost my father less than a month ago. though I know in my heart that he’ll want me to move on and make him proud I am not able to control the tears when I remember the amount of hard work he put in so that I could have a good life. I didn’t get a chance to pay my gratitude the way I wanted and I feel it’s not fair to him and me. I know if I catch on to this “I have to make him proud” feeling I will achieve things in life but I doubt if I will ever be happy again for I was happy not when I achieved things but when I shared the news with him and watched him happy.
    Also thanks for your wonderful piece on tiny buddha. I read a number of self-help articles but this is the one that I come back to again and again to get myself back on track.

    • House of Teresa

      It’s a work in progress, let me tell you. I vacillate between feeling ready to conquer the world to garbage can (currently in the sludge right now). I also think of the regrets. But…knowing that none of the negative will amount to anything positive while I’m alive, I try to push forward the best I can while making space for the hurt in small doses.

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