Compliments of The Washington Post
Author Anne Bernays, who recently lost her husband of 60 years, in the apartment they shared in Cambridge, Mass. (Photo by Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post)

When my sweet husband, Joe, died after a years-long assault by Parkinson’s disease, I found myself, at the age of 83, living alone for the first time. After our wedding, I had gone straight from my family’s townhouse on the Upper East Side to Joe’s tiny Midtown apartment. We were married for almost 60 years.

After Joe died I felt, alternately, numb and raw, as if the top layer of my skin had been peeled away, leaving me with excruciating pain. I prefer the numbness. Thirteen months of this anguish, and I’m slowly beginning to unearth my old, cheerful, energized, opinionated self. I live in two distinct universes: The first is living without Joe (unspeakable) and the second is living by myself — which, I have to admit, has its liberating moments. (Continue Reading: Yes, I Miss my)