One of the most dramatic life changes of widowhood, after a marriage of more than 4 decades that began with a blind date at the end of Junior year in college, was needing to learn how to make big decisions all by myself.

If you’ve had a close marriage, you know how dependent you become on your spouse, who becomes your sounding board, chief ally, primary confidant, and someone who is always there to help you decide about, and negotiate, all the big life decisions.

My decision to sell my house in Brooklyn and move to an apartment in Manhattan involved many solitary moments when I struggled with what made the most sense.

One of those time frames concerned my search, and ultimate choice, of an apartment.

Finally, after many months looking, I saw one apartment that had wonderful light and views west, with potential sunsets, across the Hudson River.  It needed a big renovation.  I had endless evenings of debate, with myself, about whether to make an offer on it, because it was a coop.

Since every real estate decision I was ever part of since my early 20’s involved my husband, this was the first time I was totally on my own. The real estate broker who showed me many 2-bedroom Manhattan apartments, although pleasant, certainly wasn’t a good proxy for objective advice. The decision was all mine. And since I would be buying the apartment, it was terrifying.  

Finally, I decided I would make an offer, and the owners accepted.  My first big decision and, for better or worse,  I did it alone.