Dear Me: The Mother Letters

UPDATE: I have received some beautiful letters but not enough of them yet, so I am extending the deadline to May 31, 2020.

In the spring of 2018 my book Dear Me: The Widow Letters was published. It is an anthology of letters written by widows to their newly-widowed selves. I asked them – “If you could send a letter back in time to your newly-widowed self – that heartbroken and overwhelmed woman – what would you say?” Here is the letter that I wrote.

The book was well received by widows and by people who wanted to get a better understanding of what a widow goes through. It was a labour of love for me, and I was so pleased with the comments I received from people saying how much it touched them.

Now I want to publish another book along similar lines to Dear Me: The Widow Letters, but this one will be Dear Me: The Mother Letters.

I am looking for letters from women who have experienced the death of a child. I want to know “If you could send a letter back in time to your newly-bereaved self, what would you say?” Would they be words of comfort? Advice? Hope? Encouragement? Warning? All of the above and more?

If you are a bereaved mother whose loss was at least one year ago, I hope you will consider being a part of this project. Your child may have died before birth, at birth, as a child, as a youth, as an adult – they remain your child regardless of their age.

If your letter is accepted for this anthology, you will receive $50 and a copy of the book. I do not want to limit how much you write, but I am hoping that the letters will be at least 500 words. You can use your full name, your first name and last initial, or remain anonymous if you prefer. If your letter is accepted, I would like to include a picture of your child if possible and a few sentences about when and how he or she died (in general terms – illness, accident, etc.), how old you were when he or she died, and how many years into the past you are reaching.

If you are interested in contributing a letter to this anthology and/or if you have any questions, please contact me at dearme(at)sasktel.net  I would like to have all the letters by May 31, 2020.

And if you know of any other women who might be interested in participating, please pass the information along to them. Thank you.

I Love/Hate Fall

I have a love/hate relationship with fall.

I love it because:

  • I love all the colours of the leaves.
  • I love the crisp air in the morning.
  • I love that routines/activities start up again.

I hate it because:

  • I hate all the colours of the leaves. Three weeks from today it will be four years since Bill died. It’s about this time that I feel the sea of my heart begin to churn and know there is a big wave of grief on it’s way. It will crash over me. I will feel like I am drowning. And then, on Oct. 5th by heart sea will again be calm. It’s not the day that’s so bad, it’s the leading up to it. The colours of the leaves remind me that the grief wave is on it’s way.
  • I hate the crisp air in the morning. It was a sunny crisp morning when I left the hospital on the morning of Oct. 5 as a widow. I remember it so clearly. I remember where I was parked. I remember opening up the trunk to put the bag of his clothes in it. I remember the smell in the air – that smell of fallen leaves that are starting to rot. Not an unpleasant smell, but now it will always remind me of Bill’s death.
  • I hate that routines/activities start up again. The routine I really hate is that in the next weeks the scenes of Bill’s last days play over and over and over in my head like a movie in constant replay. I cry a lot. I feel guilty – for not loving him enough to keep him alive. I know it’s crazy, but it’s what goes through my head. I hate that when something funny happens while I’m out at one of my activities, that Bill’s not here to tell it to when I get home. I miss him so much. My love for him has not decreased in the four years since he died, and never will. I will never “get over” his death. I am and will continue learning to live without him. But it’s extra hard in the fall.

Thanks for listening to my rambling venting. It helps me to write it down rather than have it circling in my head. And don’t worry if you see me and it looks like I’ve been crying. I have, but I will be okay.

Taking Back My Birthday

Since Bill died, my birthday has become the saddest day of my year. That surprised me. But I missed him so much I just wanted to crawl under the covers and cry the day away.

This year I decided I had to do something about this. If I didn’t, then my birthday would remain a sad day and that just didn’t seem right.

So I held a different version of a surprise party. I invited some friends to a dessert potluck. The surprise was that I didn’t tell them that I also hired Karla Kloeble┬áto come and try to teach us to hula hoop! It was a blast! Thanks to my friends who attended and to all my friends who sent birthday wishes today as well. I am blessed.

So I feel like I’ve reclaimed my birthday. This doesn’t mean that I’m “over” Bill’s death, or that I’m “moving on”. It just means that I chose to find some joy in this day. And now I will go to bed, crawl under the covers and cry myself to sleep. I still miss him so much.

But I bet you’re wondering if I got my birthday wish and succeeded in hula hooping, aren’t you? Judge for yourself: