Widowed & young. More fun than it sounds.

Last weekend, I was honoured to be invited to speak at the AGM of WAY Widowed and Young – a wonderful charity that supports anyone under the age of 50 who has lost a spouse or partner.*

(Here I am below, attempting to look intellectual.)

*more fun than it sounds. No, really.

reading from LAY

Reading from LAY at WAY

It’s not the first time I’ve done a public reading from the book, but arguably, if I was going to be slain by a crowd, it was this one: 100 widdas and widdawers, all of whom had been through their own personal versions of spouse-loss hell, all of whom were in the unique (and entirely unenviable position) of having a real insight into the issues raised in my book. The passage I read was about disposal of ashes, coffin choices and thrifty funeral directors named Dennis. I worried that they might not see the funny side.

(Fortunately, they did. In fact, for a bunch of bereaveds, we spent an indecent amount of time belly-laughing.)

Coffins, ashes and Dennis’ economic advice aside, the central message of my talk at the AGM was about the act of writing itself. I had been asked to consider how writing helped me after losing Mark.

Thoughts turned from my beloved husband to my beloved computer keyboard – the keyboard into which I had pounded grief, rage, loneliness  -the keyboard who, like every good friend, had responded by listening and offering me space and a conduit for reflection.

I concluded how I felt about writing and grief with the following:

Writing helped me to examine my grief, to express it in a way that I couldn’t manage with the spoken word.

Writing allowed friends and family to see how I was doing, without them having to bring out the platitudes.

Writing the blog turned into writing the book, which turned into a sort of therapy all of its own.

Writing saved me in ways that guides to grieving never could. I highly recommend it.

Fellow WAY member and BACP-registered counsellor Nicki Walker and I are now running Writing Grief, an expressive writing course for those dealing with loss. It is fully-funded through the generous support of Tyneside Mind and the Linden Family Trust. Visit us here for further information.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Widowed & young. More fun than it sounds.

  1. Lucie,

    I’ve just finished your book, and found it riveting and achingly ‘real’.

    My husband died suddenly of undiagnosed heart disease just six weeks ago, and your words have comforted me this week – and helped me feel less alone.

    I’m a writer too (from Australia). My third book was at editing stage the week Jeff died. Writing about his death since, even in short posts on Facebook, is helping me try to make sense of it all.

    Thank you for your honest words. This is a book I’d never have expected I’d need until now.

    Take care,
    Emma

    • Ah Emma, lovely to hear from you. So sorry to hear about your husband – god, six weeks is very recent, you are undoubtedly feeling very alone. I’m so pleased you have found the blog to be of some use.
      Writing has definitely been my salvation. I dread to think where I’d be now without my keyboard or a pen. Do keep in touch if and when you need to. Love and solidarity, Lucie x

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