Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

12/13/21, “Twas the week before Christmas…”

Posted on December 13, 2021


Hi Everyone,


The big countdown to the holidays is here, with all the stress of finding the right gifts, wrapping them (I lost a pair of scissors, wrapped into a gift this year), getting everything done, decorating a tree, trying to bring family together, see friends, and sometimes having to come face to face with family members you have old or new grievances with.  Even as adults, with all our childlike hopes, wishes, and needs laid bare, The holidays, whether Christmas or Hanukkah, can really put the heat on us, fray tempers and make some people dread the holidays. And while we fret or complain about our families, others are facing the holidays alone, which is infinitely harder.


With nine children, most of my holidays have been busy, love-filled, warm and loving, magical and fun. But not every Christmas looks like a Norman Rockwell Christmas card, and I easily remember the three hardest Christmases in my life. The first one came after my divorce. I had one child, moved to a distant, foreign city, and was alone with my five year old daughter, and on that first Christmas, I had to put her on a plane to spend our first Christmas post-divorce with her father, and I found myself in a new city, without friends or family, alone. It was lonely and tough. I spent the day reaching out to people I knew would be alone, mostly older people without families. The day ended with a warm feeling of community and having reached out to people who were deeply grateful that someone had remembered them.


Many years later, remarried, with nine children, the worst Christmas without question was three months after my son Nick had died. It was a brutally bleak time for us, but brought us even closer in the end. I organized a skating party for our family, and all of our friends with young children. It wasn’t easy but it remains a tender memory of a bittersweet time. And it came to me that Christmas to reach out to the homeless, cold and alone during Christmas. I filled a van with new sleeping bags and warm clothes and the night before Christmas eve, I drove around handing them out. that night changed my life, and reminded me how many people were in much worse shape than we were. I worked on the streets with the homeless for eleven years after that, which gave new meaning to my life, having lost a beloved son.


And Covid has added another layer of anxiety to our lives, many families have not seen each other for nearly two years now, and in some cases, beloved family members and friends have died. Last year was a deep learning experience for me. I married at 18, had my first child at 19, and went straight from my father’s home to my husband’s, and have never been alone again, even now I still have one daughter at home. But during the long lockdowns last year, I stayed in France and it was too dangerous to travel, and I found myself on Christmas last year, totally alone, 6,000 miles from my children, in an empty apartment. There was no voice, no sound, no Christmas carols, no shouts of delight on Christmas morning. I cant remember a lonelier day in my life than last Christmas, and with the time difference, I couldn’t even speak to my kids until 6 o’clock that night. But it was a deep lesson in gratitude and strength, in realizing how blessed I was in so many ways, and I survived Christmas and many months after far from my family. It will make me grateful for holidays with my family for many years. And it reminded me how many people spend the holidays alone for many, many years.


I read something recently that said “Christmas isn’t always what people expect, but it proves to be what we need.” I think that was so true. Spending Christmas entirely alone last year, without my children with me was a sharp reminder of how blessed I am.


So if Christmas is a challenge for you, not what you wish it were, and if your dreams aren’t shaping up quite right this year, there is always something to learn, and give and do for someone else. The lessons are hard sometimes, and solitude can be so painful, but the hard years are sometimes more meaningful than the easy ones. And the family members who are sometimes irritating, are a lesson and a blessing too. Christmas is a time for forgiveness, gratitude, and doing for others when we can. How many people do we all know who are sad and alone, and lonely, how many homeless people do we walk past every day?. And a touch, a smile, a moment spent, a call, a visit can make all the difference to someone alone, or even a stranger who may be desperate and in need. After my lockdown Christmas in France last year, I have deep respect for people who get through the holidays alone. It was one of the hardest days I have ever spent.


And even on the good years, we begin the holidays at -1, with my son Nick missing from our Christmas celebrations every year. But there is so much warmth and love and good will at our table and in our hearts, that in a way he has deepened Christmas for all of us, and made us grateful for the bond we share. Families are not always easy, but they are a great gift.


I read an article about Christmas after divorce, which is also a challenge. But even when a family has been divided, there is great love to share, and one is still a family whether separated or together. It is a time to be gentle if one can be, demonstrate as much forgiveness as one is able, and to cherish what we have.


Whether during the holidays, or at any other time, love is always the answer, whether your Great Aunt Tillie annoys you, or your Uncle Wilfred gets drunk at the table every year and is obnoxious, or your parents or children criticize you unfairly, or you’re in a marriage you hope to escape eventually, or have a disappointing girlfriend or boyfriend, or if you are entirely alone, —there is always some part of that that will bless you, if you can pour even a drop of love on the flames of what upsets you, it will surprise you and bless you in some way in the end. Kindness and gratitude go a long way, especially on the holidays, even if the turkey isn’t perfect, or if you are spending the day with the ‘turkeys’ who annoy you!!!


“When Love fills our hearts, we are regenerated and reborn. Our old life history with its twists and turns, happy and unhappy events, fades in the beauty of unconditional love.” And “We cannot find love, without unselfishness, meekness and integrity.  Our love will be a bright flame to others, to warm cold hearts, brighten hope, renew faith, and be transformed and newborn ourselves.”


Love is always the answer, as much as we can muster, and if we can love enough, and be generous enough in heart and spirit, it will change and brighten our holidays, and those of everyone around us.


It’s a big challenge to meet, and a life lesson to learn. It’s a learning process for all of us, to remember that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts we give, but about the gift we are to someone else, which in turn transforms them into a gift to us. I always discover Christmas surprises, from people who touch me, when I least expect it.


I wish you such wonderful holidays, and that the days leading up to them will be stress and anxiety-free. I hope that there is something you can be grateful for, and that you feel loved and not alone. I wish you so many blessings and the gift of love in your heart. Have a wonderful week full of happy moments and surprises.


With so much love, Danielle



11/29/21, “Before the Holidays”

Posted on November 29, 2021


Hi Everyone,


Well, we made it through the first round of holidays, as Thanksgiving opens the season of holidays, followed by Christmas or Chanukah, and ending with New Year’s. So here we go!!! The busiest time of year!!


I hope you had a beautiful thanksgiving, surrounded by friends and family, with an abundance of warm feelings of friendship and kindness, and a turkey on your table. I was lucky enough to celebrate it with my five youngest children. It was warm and cozy and everything I missed so much last year, alone and locked down in Covid in France. The Covid numbers all over the world appear to be rising again, and I hope that things settle down and improve again soon.


In the meantime, there is lots to do before the holidays, finishing shopping, making plans, inviting friends and family for Christmas, decorating the house, which is so much fun. We picked our tree the day after Thanksgiving, at a huge tree lot that is run as a Charitable event, the proceeds from the trees go to a summer camp for underprivileged kids in the summer, and gets the holidays off to a wonderful, warm start.


I hope you have lots of plans you love over the holidays, and there is still time to include friends, or someone who might be alone.  The next few weeks will fly by!!! I wish you a fantastic week up ahead, with beautiful surprises and happy times.


love, Danielle


11/22/21, Thanksgiving

Posted on November 22, 2021


Hi Everyone,


It’s a big week this week. The beginning of the holidays, and things are liable to get hectic from now until the end of the year. Tomorrow is an exciting day for me with my new hardcover coming out, “Flying Angels”, it’s a carefully researched historical novel, about the nurses who flew military missions in World War II, to rescue wounded soldiers from the front lines. The missions were extremely dangerous, and many of the brave women who flew those missions gave their lives to rescue the wounded men. The nurses on those flight missions were among the unsung heroes of World War II, and it took the military and the government another two decades to recognize them as the courageous heroes they were, and finally acknowledge and decorate them. It was a wonderful, exciting book to write, and I hope you love it as much as I do. I fell in love with the characters in the book, and I hope you will too.


Although holidays can be challenging for everyone for a variety of reasons, either being alone, not having a family, or being far from home. I got a taste of that last year myself, in spite of having a big family. I was alone in France during the pandemic, and it was too dangerous to come home, so for the first time in my life, I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas entirely alone, and it was incredibly hard, which makes me all the more grateful to be with my family for the holidays this year and it gave me a first hand view of how hard it is to be alone for the holidays.


Even surrounded by family, the holidays can be dicey and stressful for everyone, if things don’t work out as we plan, or if old problems have not been resolved and surface at family gatherings. But I find Thanksgiving very special, it’s a holiday meant to celebrate gratitude for the food on our table, the people around us, the blessings we have. It’s a time to quietly take stock, and be grateful for as much as we can. Sometimes we don’t even realize how blessed we are, and if we can be grateful for even the smallest thing, it gives the holiday real meaning. And reaching out to family and friends, and including people at our table is part of it. With the vaccines that have become part of our lives, we are able to share our holidays with family and friends again, while still respecting the safety measures that are still important, in order to protect all of us, whether testing before gathering, or wearing masks until we eat, and being careful not to expose anyone unduly, and being vaccinated if we can be.


I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, and a wonderful day. And I hope that you will be able to gather with the people you care about and who care about you.


Happy Thanksgiving!!


love, Danielle


11/15/21, Gratitude

Posted on November 15, 2021


Hi Everyone,


Last week was a busy one, as the holidays approach, editing a book, and travelling, and just keeping up with work, doing big and small projects. I find many people tense and anxious, maybe with pre-holiday anxieties, holidays can be emotionally charged for many (most?) people, and many people seem to have shorter fuses than usual. It’s a good reminder to stop and take a deep breath, appreciate beauty and kindness where you find it, and to remember that everyone is stressed at this time of year. I was dealing with an inexplicably undelivered package by Fed Ex, which I am still fighting to retrieve (unsuccessfully so far), and the same petty aggravations and worries we all deal with, which can make daily life a challenge and eat up our time, and can spoil a day. The challenge is to remember our blessings, and be grateful for the things that go right, instead of wrong.


I watched my favorite series, New Amsterdam, wrote my Christmas cards, and was lucky enough to share in a wonderful spiritual meeting I participate in every year, which gets me back on the right track. And I was able to spend a few minutes with two daughters and one son, and two days with my two daughters in New York. They all have full, busy lives, and it’s a gift to share whatever time they can spare. At their ages, the last thing I wanted to do was spend time with my parents, so it’s a gift that they spend time with me at all.


The Covid numbers seem to be rising steadily all over the world, which is worrisome, and it’s a reminder to us all to still be careful, wear masks when it is wise to do so, or required. The vaccines appear to have lowered the number of deaths, but the number of cases is rising nonetheless. Let’s hope the number of cases doesn’t continue to increase. Our family will gather for Thanksgiving for the first time in two years, with all members of the family vaxxed, and Covid tests taken beforehand, with masks worn when appropriate, and social distancing respected. Our gatherings cant be as carefree as they used to be, but for the last 20 months we have shared no holidays at all, so it will be a huge blessing to be together. It still shocks me to realize that we have lost nearly two years out of our lives, focused intensely on staying healthy, and trying to avoid Covid. And the effects of the last two years have impacted us all.


What I like best about Thanksgiving is that aside from the traditional food everyone loves, the turkey, the stuffing, the mince, apple, pecan and pumpkin pies—–it is a holiday dedicated to being thankful, to gratitude for our blessings, large and small. We can’t always be with the people we love on the holidays, and families don’t always get along, but it is a day, and a time when it’s good to remember all the things we all have to be grateful for. It’s a great thing to remember. Gratitude changes one’s outlook about everything, it shifts the perspective to thinking about the people we are grateful for in our lives. It’s a time to reach out to family, friends, and people who are alone, and hold out a hand to them, a time for forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude.


I hope this week leading up to Thanksgiving will be a peaceful one for you, and you’ll have time to enjoy the holiday the week after, with whoever you spend it with. And even if things don’t go exactly as you hope, maybe this year it will be your turn to be a blessing to someone else.


Have a great week!!! full of unexpected blessings and happy moments,


love, Danielle

11/1/21, Flying Angels

Posted on November 1, 2021


Hi Everyone,


It’s a quiet winter weekend where I am, after 4 days of rain, and chilly weather. Winter is definitely here, the trees are bare and it’s good weather to stay home. I’ve been getting an early start, wrapping Christmas gifts, catching up on letters and emails, and doing some reading. It’s the day after ghosts and goblins and trick or treat on Halloween, and today is All Saints Day, a religious holiday. (Halloween is actually All Souls Day/ All Hallow eve). Halloween isn’t celebrated in France so I had no trick or treaters.


Thanksgiving will be coming soon. I love that it’s a holiday dedicated to gratitude, and being grateful for one’s blessings. It’s a good chance to take stock, and be thankful for the people in our lives that we are grateful for!!!


I’ve been working very hard on two new books. And I hope you love them when they come out. I have a new book coming out two days before Thanksgiving, “Flying Angels” in hardcover, about a squadron of nurses in World War II, who flew missions to save wounded soldiers from the battlefield and fly them back to hospitals where they could save them. The women in those units were extraordinarily brave, and I hope you love the book, with all its history in it, and the stories of four courageous women.


Have a great week, full of happy surprises, much love,  Danielle

10/11/21, “Busy Bumpy and Beautiful”

Posted on October 11, 2021



Hi Everyone,


I hope you had a good week, even a great week!!! Mine was busy, bumpy, and beautiful. I write that after sitting here thinking for a minute, asking myself ‘How was last week?’…Not bad, pretty good…no actually, I think it was a good week. Sometimes time slips away from me, and I get swallowed up by the million tasks of real life, of working, having kids, dealing with crises and ordinary stuff, like calling the plumber, but with kids and a busy job of deadlines, the days are full. Most of the time, I don’t have time to ask myself how I am, I just rush along at full speed, trying to get each day’s tasks done. I had a lot of catch up to do this week, including a ‘text proof deadline’ (the very last chance to make corrections before a manuscript goes to the printer to become a book). So, I had that and a lot of work to do, after having fun and playing hooky with my daughters last week.


I just read back through your comments and messages on my recent blogs, you touch my heart—the regulars, the recurring names, some new ones. You warm my heart. You can’t imagine how much I appreciate your comments and messages. You always touch me, you give me back tenfold whatever I am able to give to you in my books and the blog. Thank you with all my heart for your responses, they truly mean the world to me, they feed my soul, as you say I feed yours—it is a fair and good exchange that I am so grateful for!!!


Your messages are often very profound, I love the beautiful quote from Corinthians to the effect that “Love faces whatever comes along and doesn’t give up.” Wow, that’s a good one and a tall order. I believe it, and sometimes it is so hard not to give up, to keep on going through every storm. But every time I do that, the rewards are enormous. But it certainly isn’t easy sometimes. And it certainly is good advice.


I faced a challenging situation this week. I always tell my children, and have always told them, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.” Great motherly advice!! So noble, so strong, so honorable—-easy to say and sometimes so incredibly hard to do. I found myself alone in an unpopular position this week. And standing up for what you believe in can cost you: a job, a friend, someone you love. It’s all very nice if everyone agrees with you, but when you take a hard position, based on principle, or your profound beliefs, or you know what’s right, there can be stiff consequences, and wisdom may dictate not to stick your neck out and rock the boat. If you do it at work, you can lose, and we all have responsibilities. It’s easy to take tough, unpopular positions if you have nothing at risk. In any case, I found myself unexpectedly in an unpopular position this week, with a stand I knew I had to take. I truly felt I had no choice. I anticipated heavy criticism, and got some, and the potential for a major storm was great. I wound up alone on the firing line, stuck to my guns as politely as possible, and in the end I had one ally at my side to support me (but an ally who didn’t agree with me). I took my position firmly…..and much to my amazement, the roof didn’t fall in, no major explosion happened, the ‘other side’ had thought it over and agreed with me, and everything fell into place quietly without a battle. Wow!! But I had the guts to take a stand on what I believed to be principle, and I’m so glad I did. Even if you appear to lose from doing that, it’s the right thing to do in the end. It was a good reminder that what I’d always said to my kids was right….but it was scary as hell for a while!!! Doing and saying the right thing is always the right thing, even if it’s hard. I stuck to what I believed in. At every age we are faced with the same questions, the same battles, the same challenges, to test us, and make us stronger. But it’s definitely not fun when it’s happening. It’s a good feeling though, standing for what you believe in.


Other than that, I missed my kids, was grateful for their recent visit, did a little more Christmas shopping to cheer myself up, and had ‘tea’ with a friend. (He had tea, I had my favorite drink of recent years, a Virgin Mojito—sounds fancy, tastes great: lime juice, a little sugar, fizzy water, and mint. I love it!!!). I went to a funny little antique shop, and the owner claimed to know my husband years ago, and gave me a gift, which was kind but embarrassing, and appreciated. So, it was a week of challenges and some sweet unexpected moments. Just like life.


So hang in, dear friends. Next week will be full of surprises, and hopefully not too many challenges. I wish you an easy week, with joy and good surprises in it, and as few bumps as possible.


with much love, Danielle


10/4/21, Fun is Back!!!!

Posted on October 4, 2021



Hi Everyone,


I hope you had a great week, and you’re feeling alive and energized after the summer (although I hear it’s still warm in New York, and I’m slightly jealous, since it’s already chilly in my other cities, but the cool air does wake one up, and makes the pace faster).


I had a great week, and had visits from three of my daughters, it was absolutely wonderful to see them, and we had a terrific time, with some quiet down time, and some running around, and many meals out (at outdoor restaurants). After the lockdowns due to Covid last year, after being separated from my family for 15 months, every moment with them is even more precious than before, AND after sitting around at home for months, during the worst of Covid (with 6pm curfews, and restaurants closed for 9 months in France), the three major spikes, the whole year before vaccines made things somewhat safer, and 6 or 7 months of lockdowns, with solitude and isolation—-just going out to dinner now, feels like a major fiesta!!! I really missed my family, and seeing friends during Covid, so dinner out with a friend, or one or two of my daughters (which I did this week, but still with Covid precautions, at outdoor restaurants) felt fantastic!!!


Last week and this is Fashion Week in Paris, which I have told you about before. It is a week of fashion shows by French designers (for Paris fashion week, at New York fashion week it’s American designers, in Milan it’s Italian Fashion designers, and London….it is actually Fashion Month!!! in 4 different cities). Each designer gives a fashion show of next season’s fashions (so we just saw Spring clothes). It is a super busy vibrant busy event, with several fashion shows a day, by invitation, and big parties at night. Fashion shows have been virtual during the pandemic, and this is the first Fashion Week in a year and a half with live spectators. I will confess that I personally am not ready to attend live fashion shows in crowded locations, with thousands of people attending in many cases. But many people feel comfortable going, so there are many, many spectators, and parties afterwards. (Which I’m not doing yet either. Next year!!) But with all of those fashion shows happening, international press everywhere, and spectators from the fashion world (editors, buyers, etc.), the atmosphere in the city is electric and jubilant, and the ‘In’ trendy restaurants are full to the rafters. After 18 months of a VERY quiet life, going to a restaurant now has become super exciting. I went to 4 of the most popular restaurants with my daughters, and it is definitely alive and fun, designers are there, big editors, celebrities, movie stars. I saw Yoji Yamamoto in a restaurant, and many celebrities. Actors, supermodels, handsome men, beautiful women, big celebrities, wannabes galore, women in tiny sequined shorts with 7-inch heels, or towering platforms, in a few chic outfits, and some seriously inappropriate ones. The trendy restaurants were exploding with humanity. I kept my mask on until I ate, and put it back on when I was finished eating. My children kept telling me I was staring—but who wouldn’t??!!! And it was so much fun to be out in a place where there were good looking people are wearing some very far out clothes, some gorgeous outfits, some crazy ones. It was way more fun people watching than in my apartment for the last 18 months!!!


And in the spirit of it, I wore a new pair of jeans with sequins and beads on them, and a pair of shoes entirely covered with little pieces of mirrors. Way jazzier than I usually wear, but why not?? And afterwards, when I went home, I felt like Cinderella after the ball, minus one glass slipper. It was just me and the dogs, another quiet night with a stack of work on my desk.  Blue was under the weather for 2 days with a stomach upset, so after the fun dinners out, babysitting a sick dog is considerably less fun, making sure she eats her rice, and a stack of work waiting on my desk.


The other fun thing this week was the art installation by the late artist Christo.  They wrapped the Arc de Triomphe in shimmery fabric and tied it with red cords, like a giant package. It’s interesting to see!!!


We’re still wearing masks. and eating at outdoor restaurants, but eating at an outdoor restaurant is definitely more exciting with fun people to watch while you’re dining. Covid is not over, but it’s better, and that’s a start, and I was getting blasé about Fashion Week for a while. But nothing is blasé now, it all feels new and fresh after Covid.


It’s not a highly intellectual activity, but it sure was fun to have a rest from all the grim seriousness of the past eighteen months, Fashion Week was a joy, and people watching was fun And getting to wear my sparkly rhinestone and beaded jeans, with mirrored high heel shoes was an event!!!


Have a great week, and I hope you have some fun!!!


lots of love, Danielle


9/20/21, Beloved Nicky

Posted on September 20, 2021


Hi Everyone,

I hope things are rolling along, and it’s turning out to be an interesting, lively productive September.

This week is off to a hard start for me, predictably.  September 20 is the hardest day of the year, every year, for me. It’s the anniversary of the day I lost my son Nick to suicide, as many of you know, from this blog and the book I wrote about him, “His Bright Light” (published by Random House). It’s a portrait of him throughout his life, as an exceptional, gifted child, later a talented performer/singer/lyricist musician. The exciting and often fun life he led, and his lifelong battle with mental illness in the form of Bipolar Disease. His victories and his challenges, he was a very special person, and a beloved son. He died at nineteen, and took his family’s hearts with him. But we’re all still here together, remembering him and loving him, every day, and trying to help others in his name (through the Nick Traina Foundation).

I first realized that Nick was ”different’ when he was about 18 months old, in a fuzzy yellow sleeper, with feet, and probably even before that. He walked at 8 months, and talked at 8 months. When people asked his name, he answered “Incredible”, because that was what people said about him, and he thought it was his name. He spoke in clear sentences in two languages at a year old, and had serious conversations with me. He loved music, and grew up to be the lead singer in a band, composed music, wrote lyrics and sang, and toured with a band that was becoming successful. In the end, the tours did him in, and were more than he could cope with physically, which were ultimately part of the end. And he fought a valiant battle against Bi Polar, and had a full life he enjoyed in spite of it. He was essentially a happy person, and was up more than he was down, but the downs were ferocious. And he was born and lived at a time when the psychiatric norm was not to diagnose or treat Bi Polar (manic depression) until patients were in their 20’s. Today, they treat and medicate three and four year olds for bi polar. By the time Nick was 4, it was absolutely clear that he was Bi Polar. But he wasn’t medicated or treated and no one would believe me, until he was 16, and by then he was too ravaged by his illness for the meds to be enough to save him.

I think Nick would say that he led a good and full life in spite of his illness. He crammed more into it, experiences, talent, victories, a professional music career, many girlfriends (!!!) than most people manage in 60 years. But his illness was always with him, lurking in the background. When I read his journals after his death, he began contemplating suicide from the age of 11, which I didn’t suspect then. He made his first attempt at 18, and in the next eleven months, he made four attempts, and succeeded on the last one, at 19. We tried everything before that, therapy, medication, a few hospitalizations which I tried to keep to a minimum, they only made him worse, an outdoor survival camp with therapeutic help. We tried innovative treatments and classical ones, different doses of a myriad medications. We never gave up. And in addition to practical help, we just loved him. He had 8 siblings who adored him. And we did everything to keep him happy, safe and alive. It was a hard battle to lose. He was an extraordinary human being, loving and talented, with an outrageous sense of humor. When I think of him, he was always laughing.

Like cancer, and just as serious, MANY people survive and live good lives with Bi Polar Illness, and some don’t. Just because Nick didn’t survive doesn’t mean that everyone with Bi Polar will die, but some do, and it needs to be taken seriously. Medication is vital, and often when Bi Polar sufferers feel better and ‘normal’, they stop taking their meds, and then it becomes a high-risk situation, that can have disastrous results. My message to people with Bi Polar Disorder reading my blog is “Stay On Your Meds!!!”Please!! and Get Help.

Suicide is such a sad waste and a huge loss for everyone who loves the person who commits suicide. It is a loss for us all, of talented people, good people, young children, old people.

Suicide is the 2nd most common reason for death in young people under the age of 25. (Road accidents are first). Children commit suicide as young as 6 years old, although some states won’t allow the cause of death to be listed as suicide under the age of 13, but they do it, and write suicide notes in crayon. You have to be alert as a parent, a teacher, even as a friend if you sense that someone is at risk for suicide. Every single life matters, and even if you feel unloved and alone, there is someone who cares about you, and will be devastated by your death.

So, Monday Sept 20 is the hardest day of the year for me. I have mostly happy memories of Nick, because he was such a busy, positive, strong, and loving person—-and so funny!!! And he is no more ‘gone’ on that date than he is on any other day. But no matter how long it has been, or whatever I do on that day, aside from all the happy memories I have of him, the memories of that day flood me on the anniversary and nearly drown me sometimes. Grief is a sneaky thing, you think it has gone away, and then it leaps out at you when you don’t expect it, and squeezes the air out of you. But with every loss comes a blessing and a gift, the joy of their lives, the love that you shared, the things you learned together, the laughter, the love.

When Nick died, my doctor gave me a Dreidel, a little wooden Chanukah top with Hebrew letters on it, and he said that the letters said “A great miracle happened here” I thought he was crazy, but he was right. Great things have happened even since his death. We started two foundations to fund organizations that provide hands on help and therapy for people with mental illness, and thousands of people have been helped, all because of Nick.  Nick’s life was a miracle for us, and for me. And he never leaves us.  We cannot lose the blessings he shared with us, they are forever.

And however hard it was to lose him, or however hard the anniversary is every year, no matter how great the loss, Nick was a miracle in our lives. I got a letter last week from a woman who met him when he was 3, and told me how much joy he gave her. He lives on in so many hearts, and I will love him with all my heart forever, every hour of every day. His siblings and I share even more love because of him, and the joy and love and courage he shared with us and taught us. And I will always be grateful for him.

Have a peaceful week, and cherish those you love.  Celebrate Joy, and Life, and laughter and love because that’s what Nick did, and the lesson Nick left us.  Life is to be celebrated, shared and enjoyed. Don’t waste a minute!!!


with all my love, Danielle


9/5/21, A helping hand

Posted on September 5, 2021


Hi Everyone,


I hope you’ve had a great week. I had a really fun week last week with three of my daughters in New York. They worked hard on their professional prep for Fashion Week, for their jobs, and saw me in the little spare time they had (which I am ALWAYS grateful for!!), and I worked a little in the daytime, and shopped and had fun, and met up with my daughters at night, after their work. I didn’t go to the big stores I love, because I’m trying to be careful, and stuck to small shops that weren’t crowded, and when we ate in restaurants we only ate outdoors. And I wore a mask everywhere, though many people around me didn’t. I wore mine indoors and outdoors to be safer.


I thought of something while in New York, and when I was travelling. I had a little spare time, and always try to read something inspirational and uplifting when I do, sometimes daily or several times a week. And every time I do, I am always amazed at how much it helps me. We all have our own ways of coping with stress that works for us, exercise, or reading, meditation, praying, talking to a friend, or a glass of wine at the end of the day. There is built in stress in my work, with constant deadlines. My job is like being in school forever, with exams to prepare for. Every time I write a book, it’s a challenge, and every time a book is published, it feels like a pass or fail exam—-and how will I be graded. And having many children is a great joy, but fraught with anxiety too, worrying about them. We all have stresses in our lives, whatever they are.


I try to read from the Bible once a week, and read religious articles when I can, and the writings of Joel Osteen ALWAYS inspire and comfort me. On a stressful day, when I read his work, even a page of it, or a few lines, it suddenly brings peace and sanity into my life, and hope, and I feel ready to cope with the day. And the writings of Mary Baker Eddy help me too, but require more concentration. And when I’m rushed and stressed, with pressure coming from all directions, a quick hit/a few lines of something inspirational, like Joel, works wonders!!! I was thinking today of how much it does help to have some source of comfort to turn to, a helping hand in the darkness, while you struggle with a decision, face a dilemma or a heartbreak—sometimes something even as simple as a flat tire or a broken refrigerator, or much bigger issues. the little things can get you down too, if there are enough of them. And the fallout from these weird times of Covid have been challenging for many of us, worrying about health, money, jobs, loved ones.


I’m so grateful every time I find a resource to sustain me. I am the official Head of my family, and have been for a long time. My children’s father passed away ten years ago, so I am their only parent, and we were divorced long before that, although we remained close and good friends. I have no siblings or parents, no senior relatives, and am the only child of only children, so for me, “The buck stops here,” as they say. I am the only major decision maker, and the responsible person. My only family are my children, and the big decisions affecting us all are mine. It’s an awesome responsibility at times. And at every age and stage of life, there are hard things we have to face. One of my daughters just had to postpone her wedding for the fourth time, due to Covid. It just wasn’t safe to hold a big gathering, with the current variant on the loose. And it was a huge disappointment for her. Big or small, we all have our problems. And on a tough day, with enough balls coming at you fast enough, even small problems can seem overwhelming, if there are enough of them.


I think it’s really important for our own health and sense of wellbeing, to have outlets that help us, or people who are a great support system in our lives, or some form of activity that gives us a sense of peace, that we can face another day, and another avalanche of problems. Sometimes it feels like a hail storm raining down on us, and it can make us feel hopeless. A little break, and a helping hand in the dark can make all the difference, and put some bounce back in our step, and make us feel strong again.


Whatever it is that gives you peace and encouragement, embrace it. Whatever it is, whether it’s a game of golf, or a hot bath, or a long walk, or something religious, talking to a friend, or just a cup of coffee with them, or playing with your dog. Be good to yourself, and grab that helping hand wherever you find it. We all need that, especially now, with the daily challenges and the uncertainties we are facing with Covid.  And as frivolous as it sounds, when I have the time, and my budget isn’t too stretched already, I love to go shopping. it always cheers me up and relaxes me. Whatever it is that you enjoy and can find time for, go for it!!! It really will make a difference in your day and your outlook!!!


Have a great week, hopefully with some moments to yourself when you can take care of YOU!!!  Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Things will look better when you do!!!


love, Danielle


8/18/21, “Back at Work”

Posted on August 18, 2021


Hi Everyone,


I hope you’re enjoying these last days of August, before the summer ends. It always goes too fast. I had ten wonderful days with four of my children on vacation, our first one in two years!!! Yes!!! And it was soooo nice to be together. One of the things I enjoyed most was walking on the beach, on an endless long stretch of white sand, wading in the water as I walked along. The Ocean always restores me and makes me feel peaceful. And now I’m back at my desk, back at work. I hope you’re having a good summer!!! This is a vast improvement for me over last year, when I was totally alone.


I’ve been in two places this week, and there is such an odd discrepancy between seeing people having fun, playing on the beaches, enjoying restaurants, talking in groups. On the one hand, everything looks so normal. People weren’t even wearing masks in the stores I walked into, which worried me. And then you read the numbers on the Internet and see how serious the situation is, but it seems unreal when you look around.  I long for the day when Covid will no longer be an issue, and just a dim memory.


I read a wonderful interview about a 101 year old woman, fully active and still working as a commercial lobster fisherman, with her own boat and crew. She works every day and apparently reads my books. I think work keeps one grounded, engaged, and involved in the world. I would be lost without it. And being a commercial fisherman can’t be easy at her age. Remarkable.


Well, I’m back at work on new books. The vacation went too quickly, but I’m grateful to have had the time with my children.


Take care and stay safe!!! Have a great week, love, Danielle