Framing a life

On a blustery Maine day, 39-year-old Roberta S. Kuriloff found herself standing on a plot of land purchased with her former partner, holding a couple of wood stakes to mark off exactly where her new house would sit. No longer their land. No longer their dream. Now, just hers.

Immersed in a world of blueprints, materials, contractors, and critters, Roberta confronted the major losses she’d suffered in her life — in particular the deaths of her mother and aunt from cancer and her separation from her father and brother during her placement in an orphanage — and to try to understand how those losses had shaped the woman, lawyer, and activist she’d become. As she cleared land, hammered nails, lifted beams, and shivered in her rented mobile home, the answers began to come to her.

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Roberta soon found love again, with a woman named Nancy…only to lose her abruptly just one year later in a car accident. Her grief over Nancy’s death, and the psychic and out-of-body events she experienced following that loss, led to an eight-year spiritual quest where she explored her Jewish roots, the Kabbalah, Buddhism, and reincarnation. As she healed, new love beckoned with Bernice — and at long last Roberta found that intrinsic sense of self, that unshakable foundation of heart and soul, that home, that she’d been searching for all along.

Building the house became a metaphor for Roberta’s journey and search for wholeness. It was the physical manifestation of finding soul, her essence, and being able to share it with others. Roberta discovered how her four major relationships, four special smiles, intersected with each other without knowing, a connection uncovered when she became more aware, and life became more precious. Home was not just a physical place, but an intrinsic sense of self, an unshakable foundation of the heart and soul.