A lovely life following loss

A happy moment handling my books for the first time.

A happy moment handling my books for the first time.

What a happy day! My new book, Farewell My French Love, my second memoir, arrived at my doorstep and my pride knew no bounds.

Here is a photograph of my author’s copies. However, they will not be in bookshops until Monday, April 24. Harlequin non-fiction (HW Non Fiction), the publisher, has designed a wonderful front cover with a gold spine and embossed lettering.

So, dear readers, this wide smile reflects my euphoric mood. It has been such a long three-year process with a few changes of direction with my story and a few edits and I do think my bitter/sweet memoir of coping with grief following the death of my French-born husband,Olivier, is just perfect.

I need to tell you that on May 11, 2017, it will be five years since the day my beloved husband died.

We had only been married four years when he died of cancer.

I had been a successful newspaperwoman for 20 years. Although I had written many articles about grief and interviewed many grieving people, nothing prepared me for my own experience.

My children all lived interstate and I struggled with loneliness and slipped into depression – a terrifying state of being.

However, my story is also about friendship, the fun of travel and, of course recovery.

My friend Jane travelled with me from Barcelona toParis by train and our journey was peppered with many battles over food, fashion and French culture. It all tested our friendship, but it does make funny reading in hindsight.

In France, I retraced my honeymoon with Olivier in Provence and the glorious Loire Valley, and in Jane’s company, my sadness lifted.

But that’s only half the story. After Jane returned to Australia, I stayed alone in Paris trying to redefine myself as a widow and alone. I boarded with a woman in the Left Bank in a famous apartment block and I discovered life holds amazing surprises if you can successfully navigate that difficult rite of passage through grief. I learnt French at Alliance Francaise and found myself walking the same streets as famous French writers like Simone de Beauvoir. Finally, I understood that suffering loss is the legacy of having loved.

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