When I set out to post something this morning, I found that I’ve been a bit bereft of words lately. Or maybe not bereft of words – there are always words – maybe bereft of emotions, of tears for lives lost, of feelings of worth. And where there is no passion to breathe into them, words are empty and meaningless.

I didn’t connect to Sandy Hook. I heard the news from friends over dinner, I heard it on the radio the next morning, and I read about it on blogs. But we don’t watch television so there were no images or ongoing stories to connect to. That’s probably better for me because I still find myself staring at my children’s faces (who are in the targeted age range), and imagining …

And the one year anniversary of my miscarriage is approaching (Dec 26th), and although this holiday season is a much easier period than I feared, there might be some undercurrents of sadness that I’m not connected to. Not that I wish to conjure up imaginary ills …

And my husband is away in Scotland – in Glasgow (the coolest English accent in the world) – just for the veriest stay, but I always seem to float a little when my rock is not here.

And the dog. Oh – the dog. What a steep learning curve there is with this scrap of pedigree fur. (A little piece of amusement for you. His name is Hunter de Rocancourt. He has a “de” in front of his last name, which denotes aristocracy. You can trace his lineage back quite a few generations).

He is a puppy still, but he also has a dominant nature. I – who am afraid of dogs – find myself grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and carrying him back to his crate that way, or holding him in the submissive position with one hand on his front paws and one hand on the scruff of his neck until he relents. Usually he’ll jump back up again and nip at me so that I have to put him in submission about five times before he finally lets it go.

When the vet showed me how to do that, he whined and squeaked as he does with me, but she said, “Ca c’est du cirque, ça.” He’s putting on a circus act for you – don’t be fooled. It doesn’t hurt him.

And so I’m 100% in charge while Sir is away, including the 2 AM pee breaks in the cold and dark. And no, we still don’t regret getting a dog – we’ve just incorporated the hassle for the next three years of training and education (which is apparently necessary for this breed of hunting dogs we have chosen).

I think I’m a little lonely in social media – my connection to other bloggers, which I’m pretty convinced has to do with selfishness (mine), but that’s another post for another day.

See? I told you I wasn’t bereft of words. But here are some morning light pictures, from where I’m sitting, that must do in the place of passion.



I love to hear from you, friends. You can comment using the box below or your Facebook profile. But FB doesn't notify me of new comments, so if the post is more than a week old and you want to make sure I see your comment, it's better to use the comment box. Merci!

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in La Femme (The Lady), Tout le Reste (Everything else)
34 comments on “Bereft
  1. Alison says:

    I love your view.
    Don’t apologize for anything. This time of year is hard for many, for different reasons.
    Love you. xo

    • ladyjennie says:

      Sometimes I feel like a whiner, so thank you for accepting me with my roller-coaster emotions. It’s true that this time of the year can be hard, but you don’t expect it to be. You expect it to be perfect!

  2. Tracie says:

    Your tree is lovely, and your morning light is calming and beautiful.

    Bereft is the perfect word – it describes exactly where I have been the last week. Mostly bereft of words, or at least of words I am ready or able to share.

    Sending you lots of love and praying for you.

  3. Lia says:

    Oh, Jennie– puppies are SO hard!! But it sounds like you are doing a great job with him. Stick with it and he’ll be an excellent member of the family.
    I hope you won’t think me cold-hearted, because the Newtown shooting left me as shocked and sad as anyone else. But of all the things that leave me questioning my decision to bring a child into the world (climate change and warfare, in particular), this event is the least. Maybe it’s because the tides seem to be changing now, at least in regard to gun laws. We can stop this kind of thing from happening, and I have hope.

    • ladyjennie says:

      Yes, there is hope about the gun laws, if nothing else than the fact that it’s Obama’s second term and he can sorta do whatever he wants. I don’t think these isolated cases should make us hesitate on bringing new life into the world – they are isolated incidents, so I think you’re on the right tracK to not refine too much on it. We can’t shy away from everything or we’ll never move forward.

      Thanks for the puppy encouragement. I need it!

  4. Kimberly says:

    I haven’t watched the news in over 4 years or read a newspaper. But I caught this on the radio. It’s all I can think about. I can’t make the thoughts stop. I feel like it’s almost wrong to write and try to move on from this tragedy. Like out of respect.
    I’m sorry that everything seems to be falling out of place and weighing you down. Know that I am just an email away :) Talk to me woman.
    PS. Dogs are fun aren’t they. We had to do the submission thing with my dog. Yea, see me tackling an 85 pound ball of energy. Picture that one.

    • ladyjennie says:

      I can’t! I can’t e-mail you. It doesn’t go through anymore ever since you had that yahoo glitch.

      What kind of dog do you have? It comforts me greatly that you had to do the submission thing. I suppose it will eventually sink in, right?

  5. Abbey says:

    It’s just so unbelievable that this could happen. Other than hugging my sweet kids, I haven’t done much since Friday. Thank you for the great word… bereft… that’s exactly what I am too.

  6. Abby says:

    I think my English accent is the coolest in the world actually 😉

  7. Alexandra says:

    Yes, Jennie.l

    Our bodies know what we need to do sometimes, like pull away.

    I’ve had to focus on here, my home.

    I had to.

    So broken….

    • ladyjennie says:

      Yes, you especially, Alexandra, must protect yourself. You may be steel-backed but you have a fragile heart. It’s what I know and love about you. (Sometimes I think I’m fragile backed with a steel heart). (whimsical smile)

      Focus on your lovely family and regain your strength, my friend.

  8. SE says:

    Jennie, I just wanted to send warm thoughts and a hug from Seattle. Really, there are so many of us that struggle at this time- you are not alone and I do believe we have to help and lift each other up. I’ve been guilty of the ‘pretending everything is all right’ and I think it just makes it worse. One little thing that has helped me this past few weeks- focusing on bringing one little joy in a day. Whether it’s reading a couple of pages of an inspiring book, or writing in my journal or brainstorming all the fun things I’ll do when I have a job (and more money). Creativity in any way seems to lift me.

    And the dog- oh, how I’ve been there with the dog. Years ago we got a Newfoundland puppy- and we knew nothing about disciplining him. He decided he was my ‘leader’- and things were getting bad. I had to turn him over on his back, hold down his front paws while straddling him and stare into his eyes. So dreadful I could hardly do it. But the only other option was… well, there wasn’t one. His fast growing size made it clear, everyday, I had to get him under control. After these ‘submissiveness’ sessions and training (he even learned to heel and walk properly) we were all happier. Including the dog. Please just hang in there- and it didn’t take anywhere near a year (but I just reread your post, so maybe for this type of dog) I do think the eye contact, while you have them down is important.

    Sorry you have to deal with this at the holidays- and I hope some points of light and joy find you soon.

    • ladyjennie says:

      I loved this comment. Thank you – for reminding me about creativity – that actually helped me a lot. I call it organization but I should rather call it creativity (to make plans). It’s so much more inspiring.

      And thank you for the dog tips. I made eye contact today as I’ve forgotten to do that. I can’t say it worked yet – I’m going to have my husband call the breeder because I remember reading that this breed does not respond well to harsh discipline, and from what I can see, the more I dish it out, the worse he becomes. Newfoundlands are HUGE so that gave me courage to tackle my very comparatively small scrap of fur.

  9. Holidays kick up the dust in our souls, and between your own difficult anniversary and the horror of what happened in CT, and the general tumult in much of the rest of the world, PLUS a new puppy, it would be weirder if you weren’t feeling bereft (perfect word) than that you do. If that makes sense. The chilly blue light of this time of year adds to that sense, I think. Find peace where you can and as they say, “be here now.” Breathe. Judging from this list of comments, there is a safety net out here in internet land.

    • ladyjennie says:

      You’re right. Oddly enough I’ve just been out photographing the chilly blue light, which will probably appear in my next post. :-) But you’re right – be here, now, breathe. And there is a good safety net in blogland and I’m grateful for it.

      Happy holidays – I’m sure you’ll find it in the expat community what you may be missing in the weather and culture. Although, commercially, I’m sure they have outdone even the New Yorkers.

  10. Jennie,

    You’re not a whiner. You are lovely. Your photos are calming to me after this wreckage of a week. I wish you lived nearer. I have a feeling we’d be fast friends.

    I am sorry for your loss, and for the anniversary of it. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    And if you ever need to talk….I’m only a tweet or an email away? Skype?


    • ladyjennie says:

      Me too! I know we would be and I promise not to be shy this year at BlogHer when we meet. We’ll have a comfortable coze.

      And thank you. I can’t skype – our connection is too slow – but yes, the online connection through twitter, blogs etc is very precious. I’m grateful for you.

  11. Those images look so empty to me. So lonely. It’s like they reflect what is in your heart. I’m sorry we had to meet this way, but I am glad to have come in contact with you. :)

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hi Kim, thanks for visiting! I’m glad to have a new blog friend. :-) I just had to tweet out every single one of the links for #hugsfortheholidays – such an inspiring outreach for this time of year. And since I get hit on two levels – my brother and my baby, I can really connect.

  12. Carly says:

    Thanks, LadyJennie, for reminding us that the holidays aren’t always easy for everyone- I hope you don’t mind, but I’m posting this to the messageparis facebook page along with the sos helpline number… I tried to find out if there are any Longest Night vigils tonight happening around Paris… but I can’t find any :-(

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hi Carly, you are sweet to post it to the Message FB page. I didn’t even know there was one (duh). I’m going to look it up and “like” it. And what is a Longest Night Vigil? (I’ll respond to your e-mail and you can tell me).

  13. Ameena says:

    The holidays are such a difficult time…I often feel bereft myself, even though I know I have no real reason to feel that way.

    I will be in London next week Jennie. You want to hop on the Chunnel and meet me? We could commiserate together. I would love it!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Oh that would be so lovely! I can’t though (will send you an e-mail). But next time you’re in Paris, wild horses won’t drag me and Young Lady from meeting you. :-)

  14. I love you. Know that. xoxo

  15. anymommy says:

    I find connections difficult to maintain as well, when I’m feeling … bereft? sad? off? I’m not sure. It’s isolating and the effort that I put into it so gleefully when I have a full tank evaporates when I don’t. I’m here, connecting when I can. And I know how it pulls down on the heart to have the anniversary of your loss loom so close to the joy of Christmas.

    • ladyjennie says:

      It’s strange when the tank evaporates, isn’t it? I never exactly know what causes it, but suddenly I have absolutely no more steam. Thanks for connecting, my friend.

  16. Fiona says:

    You’re photographs touch me, they are lovely and sensitive. Thank you for sharing them and for sharing your thoughts and feelings, you are a generous woman. Sending you, in return, warm thoughts from Brittany.

  17. Fiona says:

    ‘Your photographs’ ooops (too early, not enough sleep :)… actually, I am saying ‘You are lovely and sensitive’…as well as your photography.:

  18. anna see says:

    It’s so easy to feel bereft and alone. I know I do sometimes. Love you so much. Thinking of you. Baby A. Your warm, snug home. Your ……
    BTW, it took me about 6 months before Shadow and I got our groove. xoxo

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

A Lady in France on Facebook

Hotel Offers

Buy My Memoir here!

SOS Help in English:

SOS Help

Preview A Lady in France


Les Sujets

Les Histoires (Archives)


A Lady in France