Journaling is very therapeutic to me and as I wrote down the stories of our life and travels together, I realized there was a book.
After meditating one day, the 12 chapters came to me and I started writing and writing and writing. My favorite place to write is on the beach, and one day a last-minute beach place opened up on Isle of Palms near Charleston South Carolina. Ironically, this is where Dave and I first lived before settling in Summerville, South Carolina. I wrote my heart out that week, not going out except for sunrise walks and for food. Here’s my post-it board version 1:
At the end of that week, I raised a glass of scotch, on three ice cubes, and saluted the heavens in honor of Dave.
Thomas Heath, my Business Coach, helped me get connected with Jane, an editor in New York City, and in February 2020 the book was sent off to her. I remember flinging the doors open on the balcony of my condo in Sarasota – screaming out over Sarasota Bay – “We did it, Dave – we wrote a book!”
Two weeks later the manuscript came back to me with hundreds of comments written in the margins almost on every page. I let it sit for a few months because I didn’t know what to do with it from this point.
Simultaneously the world shut down because of that little pandemic that hit the world. This is a picture of the addition going on at Jeff’s place up in Maine – not the beach but on the water of Abram’s Pond. Beautiful place in the world and the best quarantine ever. Jeff is now my husband, our love affair began in Sarasota in January of 2020, and we married in October 2021.
This is one of the original covers.
Thomas introduced me to the incredible Whitney McDuff and we began working on the re-write in earnest. Thomas also connected me with a publisher, Koehler Books. The second version that Whitney and I worked on still had twelve chapters, but we re-organized it into three parts, the End, the Middle and the Beginning—representing my life path from Dave’s death to my Life Part 2, as I affectionately call it. This is version two of the vision board and it’s much neater, don’t you think!
The second edit by Jane came back to me on April 15 – exactly three years after Dave died. Coincidence? I think not. This was the incredible sunset that night.
My book “How
I Found Meaning (and Humor) in Widowhood, Firehouses, and Organic Vegetables: 7 Steps to Healing” began as a journal. In the months after Dave died the simple act of writing down memories helped me in my grief path to healing. In my travels, I’d write notes on airplane napkins, post-it notes, little notepads they used to give you in hotel rooms, anything at all available. I’d transfer them into my black journal by hand. We made memories in our travels all over the world together for almost 30 years. These included funny firehouse stories, as well as work and life stories. I wrote in my journal about it all. After all, memories are all we have left after a loved one dies.
Click here to order Marie’s book, How I Found Meaning (and Humor) in Widowhood, Firehouses & Organic Vegetables: 7 Steps to Healing After Loss.