I am 85. It is a state of being that was virtually unimaginable until the morning it ensued. I am in treatment for lymphoma, but I sleep well and have little discomfort.

I stood there with my wife, son, and niece, fists balled as I found the familiar name on the wall. But only for a moment. The anger and rage were replaced by sadness and regret.

My son and I opened the garage door on a hot August morning in 2014 and inside was my late friend Rocky’s brilliant Rosso Corsa 1961 MGA roadster, a magnificent motorcar complete with black hide seats, wood steering wheel, and no seat belts. Oh boy. “Lets see if it still has the ’B&B’ motor.” Just as found.

I spent 30 summers or so in the Hamptons. When my family first moved there I at first thought the signature phrase “the Hamptons” referred to a set of small towns at the end of Long Island where extremely wealthy people have their second or third summer houses, and where aspiring young New Yorkers spend their weekends sharing rented houses on the...

It is the summer of 1971, and I am sitting on my bed in my room. The print on the bedspread is from India, and I cherish it the same way I cherish the Day-Glo posters on my wall and the manual Brother typewriter on my desk. These are the things that hug me.

We scattered some of my ex-husband’s ashes this morning. On what would have been his 68th birthday, my son, his fianée, my sister and brother, and I drove to the inlet of Three Mile Harbor at 5:15.

“Accountants at an Australian car insurance company have found that Capricorns are the safest drivers. You know why that is, Jack?”

Billy T. Conway was dead set against attending his 40th high school reunion. Hell, he hadn’t been to one since his 10th, and only then to check up on his freshman crush, CC, who showed up married to a Frenchman she’d met in college. After that, Billy T got married himself and didn’t bother anymore with reunions.

I am two. My aunt arranges a party of sorts for my pregnant mother, and the women of the family encircle her in the backyard beneath the cherry tree. My mother’s long floral dress hangs off her freckled shoulders, and she smells of lavender soap. Her eldest sister rubs her feet. We pass around a thick piece of thread, each of us adding beads until...

They met at boarding school. He was the class comedian and she was the class beauty. He was determined to become a star; she didn’t know what she wanted, other than to possess him and to be possessed. He was friendly, goofy, and not quite handsome; she was svelte, liked to laugh, and her facial features were so classical that her face could have...

The divorce arrangements were pretty clear and standard. Dad would get us every other weekend and for a month in the summer. Christmas and Thanksgiving they alternated.

On the Sabbath, Mercedes went to church and asked someone if there was anyone who could teach her English. She was directed to a gal sitting near the front. After the service, an arrangement to start lessons was made.

I’m able to do it now, but it was a long time before I could think about my father’s illness and death. For nearly four years, I spent so much time and energy keeping those feelings of loss and pain on the periphery of my mind, not allowing them to break through or interfere with my day-to-day routine. I tried as hard as I could to distract myself...