“If you could send a letter back in time to your newly-widowed self – that heartbroken, overwhelmed woman – what would you say?” This is the question that local author and editor Dianne Young asked and she received the answer from twenty courageous women of various ages from across North America that were widowed under various circumstances, and with these answers, Young created the book Dear Me: The Widow Letters.
The idea behind the book came after Young found herself a widow in 2014 after 30 years of marriage. Following the loss of her husband, Young was unsure how she was going to continue on, as everything in her life was now different. Looking for methods in which to help her cope with the loss, Young turned to several books on grief and mourning, finding zero comfort in the words within until coming across one book that contained advice which resonated with her. This particular book noted that there is not a single person that has lost the same person that you have and that every person grieves uniquely. “Even if it is the same person, you’re relationship with that person is different than anyone else’s. There are things you have in common, but you’re grieving is unique and I thought, the only person that can truly understand what I am going through, and what I have gone through, is me,” Young explained. It was here that Young had the idea for her book. “I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to see what widows would say to themselves if they have a chance to. If you could write a letter and pretend you could send it back in time and you could talk to that person, what would you want to say?”
Before asking others to write letters to themselves, Young knew she had to write one to her past self. It took approximately a year and a half after her husband’s passing, but she did it. From there, Young put out information looking for other widows to participate by writing letters to themselves and after receiving them, put them into an anthology. These women sat down and put careful time and consideration into writing heartfelt letters to themselves – letters of grief, of love and, most importantly, of hope. The letters within the book will resonate with other widows, who may recognize similarities to their own journey of grief, and can help provide friends and family who may be at a loss of what to say or do with assistance.
The Martensville Library, whose staff takes pride in highlighting local talent, will be hosting a book presentation on Tuesday, June 5th from 7pm to 8pm that will feature Dianne Young’s book, Dear Me: The Widow Letters.