After loss, life can still be beautiful alone


Happiness on the eve of publication

After a long three year journey as an author, my joy has no bounds as I await tomorrow when my memoir Farewell My French Love will be released on the bookshelves of most good book shops across Australia.   Published by Harlequin Non-Fiction (and I have so much to thank them for), it’s my bitter/sweet memoir of coping with grief following the death of my French-born husband Olivier.  Except that I didn’t cope at all well, which became the reason why I began to write about grief, a terrifying state of being for me.  I imagined after a 20 year career as a successful newspaper woman, who had written many articles about other people’s grief, that I would understand its transient nature. But nothing prepared me for my own experience. Olivier and I had only been married four years when he died of cancer. I had been his carer for the last six months of his life and as much as it was an act of absolute love to care for him as his life ebbed away, his death triggered absolute despair.

But my story is also about friendship, the fun of travel, and of course, recovery. As my friend, Jane, who suggested we travel from Barcelona to Paris together said “You know you have to recover, don’t you darling.” When Jane returned to Australia after a bagful of hilarious battles about food, fashion and French culture, I spent another few weeks alone in Paris, trying to fit more comfortably into my widow’s skin. And magical things did happen in Paris to lift my sadness and help me recover.

Harlequin is billing my book as an “Eat, Pray, Love for Francophiles: a funny, poignant and profoundly moving memoir about love, grief, friendship, travel and renewal.”

However, let me quote 19th century French novelist George Sand – “Whoever has loved knows all that life contains of sorrow and joy.”  This is the ethos of Farewell My French Love because I finally understood that suffering loss is the legacy of having loved. And my new mantra – picked up from a Frenchman on our honeymoon in Provence is Profiter: La vie est belle.  Life is beautiful. Enjoy!

happy moment handling my books for the first time.


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