Shopping for One – Life, Love and Loss – #Grief


After two weeks of grueling paperwork, phone calls and income tax, and … grieving, I thought perhaps I should run out and pick up a few groceries – few being the operative word. I should have known by the sunny sky I’d spied when I peeked out the window before leaving, the sunshine would be short-lived as it rained down a five minute stunt of chunky snowflakes as soon as I pulled out of the garage. Maybe it wasn’t the right day to venture out into the world in my new singleness.


I had zero vegetables left – or chocolates, so that was enough to motivate me to get outside, only my second time out since my husband’s funeral. Still, I felt strange. But I thought it would also be a good idea to just get out. Sure, plenty of times while my husband wasn’t well I’d done the shopping solo, but I was still shopping for the two of us. This time I wasn’t.

I ambled into the supermarket, feeling slightly numb from the combination of half an Ativan and carrying the boulder around as added weight, which feels permanently attached to my heart. I chose what I needed for myself from the produce section and picked up a few red grapes. I stopped myself for a moment in thought. George likes green grapes. I try to explain to him, to no avail, that there are better benefits from eating red grapes – resveratrol, for one. But I’d continue to get him his green grapes, as the extra health factor in the red grapes didn’t excite, and myself the red. Today I only bought the red grapes.

As I ventured up every aisle just looking for a few things, my eyes glanced the many items I’d normally throw in the basket for my husband. Nope, don’t need the almond milk creamer, but thanks again Stupidstore for not having my soy creamer. Again! I grabbed myself a case of fizzy water, and left behind the case of gingerale, which is another staple for George. I picked up my toothpaste, not his.

As I scooted down the refrigerated aisle, I was taken aback when I passed his favorite rice pudding cups. How many years have I bought him those cups? I stood there for a few minutes just staring at the rice pudding, but in actuality, I was staring right through it, far and beyond. Then I went to the chocolate bar and candy aisle – George’s favorite aisle to roam in. I picked up my milk chocolate big bar, and left his dark chocolate one behind.

I bypassed the bread aisle. None required. The same oatmeal box caught my eye as the one I had at home, still almost full, save for that one bowl I tried to feed you again after you ate it the previous day and loved it. But that was that day, every day we’d cross a new challenge.

It was a short shop. I’d had enough. I went to stand in the Covid partroled lineup to cash out. My position in line, directly beside the flower shop. The roses took me back to the roses of two weeks ago, the ones that were placed on your coffin. Let’s go, let’s go, I kept repeating silently within as I could feel another outburst of grief brewing within. I needed to get out of that store. I just couldn’t breathe.

I think it was a bit too early for me to venture back out in the outside world, especially alone. I realized that being locked down in my Covid-free lockdown home is where I feel most comfortable at this moment. There I can be more comfortable in my unacceptance that you’re really gone, like when I’m in the living room, I pretend you’re sleeping. That’s how I’m able to function right now.

I feel the same aching inside every time I open up a cupboard or a fridge door in our home. So many of your favorite foods that I don’t eat remain resting on the shelves. I’ll throw it out someday. But right now I’m just not ready.


sad face


Triggers are everywhere and in everything. As the well of grief refills itself daily, I learn the simplest of things can set off a tidal wave of tears. Below, I’ll share a poignant passage from Gary Roe’s book – Comfort for the Grieving Spouse’s Heart, which I recently read and reviewed:


…My grief is like that. It can make a fool out of me without warning. No way to prepare for it. No way to anticipate it. Every moment, I’m at the mercy of my surroundings and my emotions. ~Gary Roe.



Life Love Loss



December’s Featured Blogger: Author D.G. Kaye Guest of Art by Rob Goldstein

I was recently interviewed by artist and blogger Rob Goldstein. Rob dug deep with his questions for me and I’m thrilled to share the interview here today.


December’s Featured Blogger is Author D.G. Kaye.


D.G. Kaye was born in Canada and lives in Toronto. She is an accomplished author and an active blogger on WordPress. 

In your bio, I hear a sense of determination and hope. How do you find hope?

I don’t find hope, I keep it tucked deeply inside. Hope is all we have when facing tragedy or adversity. In our darkest moments many of us, like myself, cling to that hope. But those who cannot focus on the light often get lost in the abyss of the darkness of the moment. I refuse to go to that place. I’m a firm believer that we manifest what we focus on to the universe. And what we focus on we attract. Staying focused on the negative and dark thoughts of an undesirable situation keeps us rooted in the fear instead of finding solutions to rise above the issues. I am a problem solver by nature. When life is dishing out curve balls I don’t cower and drown in fear, I look for the way out or the path I must take to overcome the adversity, focusing on the overcoming and the healing.


Did you write as a child, if so, what is the first thing you wrote?

Yes, I wrote as soon as I learned how to write my alphabet. I began writing love notes to my parents. I was hyper aware of my family dysfunction as far back as 3 years old. All I wanted was for my parents to love each other and show me affection. I believe, looking back on those years, that my fears to verbalize what I was feeling translated directly into writing to express my feelings and desires.


What was your favorite book as a child?

Sadly, I hate to admit it, but I have no recollection of any books in my home growing up. The fairy tales I learned were from teachers reading to us in school. I somehow always identified with Cinderella and her wicked step-mother as I grew to realize that I felt my mother had used me as her personal housekeeper and messenger from the age of 7 and on. My love for reading began once I entered junior high school when we were given books to read as part of curriculum in English classes.


Who are your inspirations as a writer and in life?

Well, going back to childhood, I would have to say Barbra Streisand became my idol at a very young age. Funny Girl, still one of my favorite movies, became a movie I identified with because Streisand’s character – Fanny Brice, reminded me so much of myself.

Brice was portrayed as an awkward girl trying to make it on the stage, beginning with her shows with the Ziegfeld Follies. She didn’t consider herself beautiful or elegant enough to fit in with the beautiful and sexy cast of dancers, so she used her sense of humor to win over the crowd, which eventually, pushed her to stardom. One line in particular, caught my attention, and that line stuck with me and became part of my character – “I want them to laugh with me, not at me.”

As for my writing, it wasn’t the classics that inspired me as they have many writers. Being that there weren’t any books around my home, I loved reading the newspaper when sentenced to spending weekends at my paternal grandparents’ home, and soon found myself addicted to reading columns on everyday life and problem solvers by column writers like Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and Erma Bombeck. Even as a child I was fascinated by life stories and emotions and eager to learn how to resolve issues. As I got older, I found myself connecting with the writing of Norah Ephron.


When did you decide to write about your relationship with your mother?

I think it was in my early teens when I began to resent my mother for the way she treated my father and ignored the emotional needs of her children when I began taking notes about her and writing letters to her about my feelings. I never, ever gave her one of those letters, but somehow it was cathartic for me to get my pent-up angst on to paper and out of my head. My life was an ongoing saga of dramatic and traumatic events with my mother, so I often documented in journals what I was feeling and my analysis of what provoked my mother to act as she did. I got the urge to write a book about my life with ‘mother’, but my fear of ever publishing a book while she was alive kept me from bothering to write one.

I suppose the urge to expel my thoughts and stories rose to a peak as my mother became less lucid and immobilized, empowering me with knowing she could no longer attack me or reprimand me, or even sue me, for that matter. So, in early 2013 I began sorting out pages from my journals and writing Conflicted Hearts – A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt.

Conflicted Hearts, D.G. Kaye


How did the decision change your life?

When I began writing that first book that’s all I thought I would write. But while I worked on the book I began learning about self-publishing at the same time, which led me to opening a blog and connecting with a whole community of writers and new friends who shared the same passion for writing. By the time I published my first book, I knew there was no turning back. I finally found I was doing what burned within me most of my life – writing.


In your introduction to Twenty Years: After “I Do”, you describe your husband as a soul mate. What does soul mate mean to you?

First, let me state that soul mate is typically said of a partner, but soul mate could also apply to a friend we are connected deeply with.

A soul mate is one we connect with on a spiritual level. When we are in tuned with someone who we share similar values in life with, understand their words and feelings without being spoken, and share a bond where there’s an intuitive knowing of their soul is my definition of soul mate. Please continue reading at Rob’s blog


Twenty Years



Source: December’s Featured Blogger: Author D.G. Kaye – Art by Rob Goldstein

Writing Memoir [Expert Interview] – The Blogger’s Lifestyle

Friday blogshare


Today I’d like to share a wonderful interview I had with Kathleen Aherne over at her generous blog – Bloggers Lifestyle. I was just ecstatic when Kathleen wanted to interview me on Writing Memoir. Kathleen also invites bloggers to add one of our blog post links to her Friday posts with a chance to meet and mingle with other writers and bloggers and asks that we click on any of the links on the list, go visit that post and meet a new blogger. I was also honored to have been chosen a few times for the Bloggers Pit Stop feature of the week on her blog. Please enjoy!


Writing Memoir with author Debby Gies


Debby Gies is an accomplished nonfiction memoir author, writing under the name of D.G. Kaye. She writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. I have read her first book entitled Conflicted Hearts. Any good book will keep your interest; a great book feels like you are right there feeling what the characters are experiencing. Conflicted Hearts is such a book, and that is why I read it cover to cover in one day. The sequel to this book has just been published.

Emotions of Writing Memoir

Reading old journals and delving into the past can be an emotional rollercoaster. Do you have advice on how to use these emotions positively and not be swamped by them?


It’s hard to escape the emotions arising when we re-visit painful past hurts. Writing memoir is different from writing fiction because it’s hard to separate our feelings from our words. I like to dissect my memories and look at the reasoning behind the emotion.

I’m a truth-teller, always looking to resolve conflict. The way I process my thoughts about hurts that I harbor within is to find a release for them, usually through my writing. For me, writing helps analyze things and put them in a perspective. My writing isn’t to convict anyone, rather to expose the problem and share how I dealt with my problems; solving my own anxieties from my situations and hopefully leaving a message for others.I forgive you, Writing Memoir

This was why I wrote my newest book, the sequel to Conflicted HeartsPS. I Forgive You, because I knew I had to find resolution and peace within myself for closure from the decision I made to finally abandon my narcissistic mother, and live with that decision after she died. I couldn’t write about it until I experienced the feelings I would go through.


Consulting Family Members

Do you consult with other family or friends to clarify your recollections of past events?


Yes I do. It’s funny though, writing in memoir is writing our truth, the truth as WE know it and remember it. I remember much more than my siblings do because I was the eldest and I took the brunt of my mother’s wrath for years.

I’m also an empath, very in-tune to other’s feelings. I was aware of the discord I grew up in while my siblings chose to tune out. I often spoke about incidents with my siblings and friends who were witness to situations I encountered in my younger life. In my newest book, I did many interviews with various family members.


Permissions and Disguising Identities


As a memoir writer do you need permission to name others mentioned in the story? Do you ever disguise people or place names to protect identities?

Please continue reading HERE


Blogger's Pit Stop feature winner


Source: Writing Memoir [Expert Interview] – The Blogger’s Lifestyle

Sunday Book Review – Writing Hard Stories by Melanie Brooks

Sunday Book Review

Book reviews by D.G. Kaye


Today’s book review is on memoir writer, Melanie Brooks’ book – Writing Hard Stories. I always try to read a book on my craft in between reading other genres I enjoy too. I was drawn to this book, not only for its whimsical cover (covers do attract), but for the content of the book, which is a series of interviews the author conducted with other more well known memoir writers. Brooks was searching for the heart of why and how each writer goes about writing their memoirs – what inspires them, how they get over the tough parts to write, overcoming fears of featuring people in their lives and how their work will be accepted.




Some of the country’s most admired authors—including Andre Dubus III, Mark Doty, Marianne Leone, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Richard Blanco, Abigail Thomas, Kate Bornstein, Jerald Walker, and Kyoko Mori—describe their treks through dark memories and breakthrough moments and attest to the healing power of putting words to experience.

What does it take to write an honest memoir? And what happens to us when we embark on that journey? Melanie Brooks sought guidance from the memoirists who most moved her to answer these questions. Called an essential book for creative writers by Poets & WritersWriting Hard Stories is a unique compilation of authentic stories about the death of a partner, parent, or child; about violence and shunning; and about the process of writing. It will serve as a tool for teachers of writing and give readers an intimate look into the lives of the authors they love.


Insights from Writing Hard Stories – Melanie Brooks

“Why we endeavor collectively to write a book or paint a canvas or write a symphony…is to understand who we are as human beings, and it’s that shared knowledge that somehow helps us to survive.”—Richard Blanco

“Here’s what you need to understand: your brothers [or family or friends] are going to have their own stories to tell. You don’t have to tell the family story. You have to tell your story of being in that family.”—Andre Dubus III

“We all need a way to express or make something out of experiences that otherwise have no meaning. If what you want is clarity and meaning, you have to break the secrets over your knee and make something of those ingredients.”—Abigail Thomas

“What we remember and how we remember it really tells us how we became who we became.”—Michael Patrick MacDonald

“The reason I write memoir is to be able to see the experience itself…I hardly know what I think until I write…Writing is a way to organize your life, give it a frame, give it a structure, so that you can really see what it was that happened.”—Sue William Silverman

“After a while in the process, you have some distance and you start thinking of it as a story, not as your story…It was a personal grief, but no longer personal…[It’s] something that has not just happened to me and my family, but something that’s happened in the world.”—Edwidge Danticat

“Tibetan Buddhists believe that eloquence is the telling of a truth in such a way that it eases suffering…The more suffering that is eased by your telling of the truth, the more eloquent you are. That’s all you can really hope for—being eloquent in that fashion. All you have to do is respond to your story honestly, and that’s the ideal.”—Kate Bornstein

“You can never entirely redeem the experience. You can’t make it not hurt anymore. But you can make it beautiful enough so that there’s something to balance it in the other scale. And if you understand that word beautiful as not necessarily pretty, then you’re getting close to recognizing the integrative power of restoring the balance, which is restoring the truth.”— Richard Hoffman


My 5 Star Review:

I read this book about Brooks’ journey to seek out and learn about some esteemed memoir writers to learn about their journeys to writing memoir. Brooks was seeking the essence of how they go about writing their stories, what are the hurdles for them – the most difficult parts, how they feel their work will be received, and will their stories connect with readers and possibly help readers with their own similar journeys in their lives. As a memoir writer myself, I was absorbed into all the stories.

There is a commonality with memoir writers – the journaling, the scattered notes and journals splayed around our living spaces, the pain on the pages relived, the coming to terms with how we’ve been abused, injured, slighted, or triumphed in life in some way. Many of us memoir writers start out wanting to fictionalize our stories, sometimes afraid to step up and own them personally, only the brave step up to the plate and write our own truths. Read this book and find out how various writers hone their craft.


I also want to share for my readers, some memorable lines I took from some of these stories:


Andre Dumas:  “Don’t leave out the family from your story. Tell your truth as you remember it.”


Sue William Silverman“It’s like writing that pressure out of the pressure cooker. Each word that comes out is like taking a little piece of pain with it and putting it on the page.”


Richard Hoffman“. . . writing and publishing are two different things. Don’t confuse them. As soon as you start thinking, ‘Well I could never publish that then the censor is right in the room with you with a pencil crossing stuff out . . .”


Suzanne Strempek Shea:  “. . . how much easier it is to look at what you’re hiding from them to keep it in the basement. It’s much scarier, has much more power in the dark than brought up to the light.”


Mark Doty“It’s nice to get a compliment or have your writing praised, but when somebody can say, ‘Your book showed me this,’ or ‘This is what I got from it,’ that’s what I love most.”


Edwidge Danticat:  On not talking about her WIP “I feel very vulberable where it’s happening if they criticize, it might lead you to kill something because you are giving more value to their opinion than perhaps even they are.”


Jerald Walker:  “Will I get tired of writing about my own experiences? And I think the answer is no. As long as there are people in my orbit who I think deserve some attention, I like being the vehicle to deliver it.”


Kate Bornstein:  “Tibetan Buddhists believe that elopquence is the telling of truth in such a way that it eases suffering. And the more suffering that is eased by your telling the truth, the more eloquent you are.”


Melanie Brooks:  “During a presentation I attended at the Miami Beach Fair, Mary Karr said, ‘Writing memoir, if it’s done right, is like knocking yourself out with your own fist.’ In one sentence, she summed up what we all discover when we venture into this territory: writing hard stories is excruciatingly hard work!”


Allan Hunter:  “Pain is like a stone. If you put it in your pocket, it weighs nothing at all. If you put it inside your shoe, it will cripple you. The same little bit of pain. You are moving the grief from where it is doing no good to the place where you can carry it more easily.”


Melanie Brooks“We find language to unravel the complexities of what happened, and we re-stitch those complexities into narratives that can become meaningful to others. And those are the narratives that have the potential to give others the courage to find their own.”




Writing as Therapy – Releasing our Thoughts on Paper

Writing to Release


Writing to Release


We use our writing to convey our thoughts, ideas, and to tell stories. For many of us, writing is a personal outlet to communicate our feelings and opinions. Writing can be a therapeutic exercise, enabling us to release what may be stifling our well-being,  offering us freedom to release our locked up emotions onto paper.

An abundance of articles and books have been written on helpful methods to release our inner turmoil. Using methods such as writing a letter to ourselves or directly to someone whom we feel we need to express our thoughts and feelings about circumstances that plague us internally is an excellent release. I’ve used this method on several occasions, beginning in my childhood, going straight into my adult years before I even realized the value of the therapeutic benefits.

Many of us have issues with confronting people with our personal feelings and need an outlet to release these feelings within, whether they be feelings of angst or affection. As a child growing up in a dysfunctional home environment, I often wanted to confront my mother about my feelings and opinions, but never mustered the courage to do so.

I began writing letters to her. After writing each one of them, I felt as though a great burden had been lifted off of my sub-conscience just by getting my feelings out of my head and onto the paper. I never sent her any of them.

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, at times, we all harbor thoughts that plague us that would serve us better if we could release them. Our minds sometimes become clouded with unanswered questions, doubts, and feelings of neglect from bruised emotions. When we don’t have an outlet or ears for us to vent to, or often, the courage to confront, writing becomes the savior of our soul.

I know many of us grew up with similar fears of their parents that I had with my own mother. Having no platform to speak out  on can be disheartening, and leave long-term hurt to surmount and fester within. Our feelings of powerlessness and intimidation to approach people with our thoughts hampers our confidence levels and often our self-esteems when there is no outlet to release and have our thoughts validated or repaired by communication.

Writing became my voice to replace my fears of confrontation. It began as a child with emotional fears and continued through my earlier romantic relationships. I was uncomfortable with declaring my feelings to a partner, because it was all I’d known from childhood – afraid to speak my opinion and feelings. I found the act of writing those letters come in handy throughout those earlier relationships. I refrained from ever sending or giving one of my letters to my mother, but I learned to give them to my partners. The words I had no courage to speak out loud, spoke for me in my letters. And the right partners were the ones who responded to my words, eventually enabling me to become more comfortable and willing to express myself vocally.

Not everyone is compassionate. Not everyone wants to hear what we have to say. But when we open our heart to someone with our words and we receive positive feedback and acknowledgement, it’s a great stepping stone to opening the lines of verbal communication beginning with that person, instilling a gained confidence to speak out loud to others.

My writing has helped to free my spirit that was once stifled with fear and anxiety, holding me back from speaking my thoughts and feelings. Writing is the gift of empowerment. Whether we write letters, keep a journal of our thoughts and feelings or write complete stories, they are all effective avenues to communicate about what resides within us. Eventually, our words will connect with the appropriate receivers, and for those not open to receive . . .well, at least we’ve released our internal burden and we leave the ball in their court with a chance for them to hear what we have to say. With any luck, we’ve opened the lines of communication. We can feel lighter knowing we’ve released.