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The Retirement Quilt

The Retirement Quilt by [Dr Ronald Lee Gaudreau]

The Retirement Quilt by Dr Ronald Lee Gaudreau takes us to a small town in Australia called Morton, centering around a small group of people hailing from decades of farmers, entrepreneurs, and teachers. This diverse array of people came together with one unifying task: the creation of a quilt.

The Retirement Quilt begins by following the life of Geoffrey Hamilton as he goes through the motions of his last day as a CEO. We dive into the unspoken aspects of his life, like his bittersweet interactions with his driver and secretary. He’s mourning all the time that has passed while trying to feel excited about his coming future in retirement. He reconnects with a woman named Robyn, a dear friend of his deceased wife Margaret. Together they become intertwined in the creation of a memorial quilt, as it brings grieving and loving people together along the way.

I loved the way this inspiring book approached grief and healing. It was a touching look into the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, and how their lingering influence can continue to make the world a better place even after they’re gone. This book emphasizes community and the lengths we go to as people to make lasting connections, and how powerful these connections can truly be. The story has a lasting message—that no matter where you go or who you meet along the way, love is always possible.

While I enjoyed having varied dialogue from different sorts of people throughout the story, I felt that the structure could have been improved. I found that it read like an interview at times because of the dialogue, and I would have rather seen everyone’s conversations blended into the story itself to give it a more narrative driven story feel.

The Retirement Quilt by Dr Ronald Lee Gaudreau is a wistful and impassioned story with an inspirational message. It’s an important reminder that I think everyone can benefit from; even if you feel alone, change is a positive thing.

Pages: 257 | ASIN: B07VLKPQ3G

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Life After Losses

Life After Losses: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Life by [James LaVeck]

James LeVeck takes the reader on a personal journey of loss, healing, moving on, facing loss again, mourning, and learning how to handle bereavement. Life After Losses: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Life is not an emotionally easy book to read; I had to put the book down several times to compose myself. The traumas, emotional turmoil, and agony shared by the author make the reader appreciate life and everything that we go through. James LaVeck is candid about his life, something not many people are able to do. I applaud him for being bold and sharing the most intimate details about himself. Reading this book will help you connect with your inner self and help you go through the grieving process.

There are many lessons shared by the author. My biggest takeaway from this book is that it is okay to be vulnerable no matter your age. Life After Losses is the book you need by your side whenever you are mourning or going through a difficult time in life. James LaVeck’s words are inspiring and give one a sense of belonging. The author will encourage you and motivate you to be yourself. Cry your tears; make the world know that you are grieving. Along with his emotional support the author also provides readers with the lessons he has learned about trying to move on. This book is filled with practical and comforting advice that will help anyone overcome the seemingly insurmountable grief they face when losing a loved one.

James LaVeck’s book is emotional but ultimately uplifting and empowering. I enjoyed his stories about his first and second husband. Though the content is potent, this memoir is short and easy to read. Life After Losses is a sentimental memoir with a powerful message that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

Pages: 170 | ASIN: B08NRMZQM1

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I Didn’t Know What to Say

I Didn't Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend to Those Who Experience Loss by [David Knapp, Crystal Wacker Knapp]

At first I thought David Knapp’s book was going to be a self-help book on grieving. A literary pat on the back, but I was pleasantly surprised to find so much more in this valuable resource. I Didn’t Know What to Say: Being a Better Friend to Those Who Experience Loss provides actionable advice, beyond sagely wisdom, as it applies to the loss of a loved one. It’s a literal how-to on loss and grief. And not just for people that have lost a loved one. What do you say to a friend that lost someone, or a casual acquaintance, or a stranger? Before this book, I certainly didn’t know what to say. David Knapp has given me, and readers, the skills we need to deal with loss and know what to say.

David Knapp shares his heartbreaking story in order for us to understand his point of view, his experience, but also that loss is something we all deal with, or will have to deal with. By narrating his experiences with grief, the reader is able to relate with David Knapp on a personal level. The style David Knapp uses to share his most intimate experience, his wording, the phrases he uses and warm tone in his book are some of the features that make the author excellent in his art. When David talks about a particular experience in his life, he is articulate, and makes the reader feel like they are part of the story. I Didn’t Know What to Say will help you understand the agony of the person experiencing loss, give you the tool to help them through difficult situations and make them comfortable to express themselves.

This is a book for anyone that knows someone who is experiencing loss; this could be a friendship, a professional relationship or someone much closer. The author gives you the right words to use. He guides the reader on what to say, how to say it, and when to say it, so as not to appear insensitive. By reading this book, you are able to go through bereavement in a better way and talk to mourners in a more humane manner. This is a critical book for anyone to read now as well, as surely we’ll experience loss at some point in our lives. It’s important to learn the skills now so that we are ready, and in that way, David Knapp’s book is essential reading.

Pages: 237 | ASIN: B0112SC9AC

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HEAVIEST CALM by [Sherine Anniruth]

Heaviest Calm by Sherine Anniruth is a collection of poems dedicated to and written in the memory of the author’s son, whom she lost at a very young age. Throughout the book, the author touches upon various bittersweet memories, the pure joy and bliss that her child brought into her life, and then life taking him away at a very tender age. The poems convey simple emotions in a relatively effortless tone, baring the feeling of grief that any parent would feel at the loss of a child.

The best part about this book is that it makes you feel like you have a companion in your grief. This compilation of poems is a perfect balm to this feeling of loneliness. It talks about the first-hand experience of losing a child, walking us through the ups and downs of the journey to finally getting over the immense and insurmountable grief.

With lines like “Some days the memories drown me…. Some days the memories bring a smile to my face”, the author deals with grief, not as a single-dimensional emotion with just gloom, sadness, and inability to carry on, but also talks about the momentary happiness that gives a person the ability to carry on.

The poems are contemplative and meandering, simply exploring what the author is feeling, and how those feeling keep recurring. The poems are pure, raw expressions, that acknowledge the existence of some life changing and potent emotions.

Heaviest Calm is a collection of poetry that provide a beautiful and heart-wrenching depiction of grief. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper connection with human emotions, grief in specific. This book is perfect for people who don’t really read a lot however want some catharsis to their grief.

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B098K7CXS8

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If Grandma Were Here

If Grandma Were Here, by Amber L. Bradbury is a heartwarming children’s story to remind kids that their grandma is always with them. The book goes through the many activities children would have with their grandmother. From hugs in the morning to a story at night, there are many things to read about.

If Grandma Were Here is an easy to read book, with detailed illustrations to help the reader visualize each scene. The drawings are filled with bright colors and motion, showing the excitement of spending time with grandma. Throughout the book, the tone is playful and enthusiastic to remind kids that memories of deceased loved ones are happy memories.

Bradbury tells a fun story to teach children that losing a loved one is sad but it is important to remember all the good times you had together. Each event makes it easy for the reader to relate, making it feel more personal. If Grandma Were Here is a beautiful children’s book that will help family’s discuss grief and help young ones understand how to cope with loss. The charming illustrations and heartwarming storyline make Amber L. Bradbury’s children’s book an engaging and entertaining story for anyone.

ASIN: B08QMM18YW | Pages: 17

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Sudden Widow, A True Story of Love, Grief, Recovery, and How Badly It CAN Suck! – Book Trailer

Sudden Widow is a book for widows/widowers and everyone in their lives, to help readers make sense of an unbearable loss. Refreshing, authentic, heartbreaking, and funny, it is essentially a love story–validation for widows in a world where many don’t recognize the colossal grief and adjustment after suddenly losing a spouse. Reading this intelligent, eye opening memoir, you will laugh, cry, and learn. Perhaps most importantly, readers will feel understood and less alone. This book is a moving, inspiring example of ‘powering through’. For more information, go to

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Make the Best of Your Life Now

Bella Lynn Thompson
Bella Lynn Thompson Author Interview

Sudden Widow shares your emotional true story of losing someone deeply connected to you and your journey through grief. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wrote the book for many reasons. My own process and hoping to help other widows/widowers feel understood. I wanted to write something raw and authentic. A book that did not say ‘your life is definitely going to be great again.’ I wrote a book that says, ‘your life is tremendously different than the life you thought you would have and yes, it may be less colorful, but you still have to attempt to make the best of your life now.’

What is a common misconception you feel people have about loss and grief?

The most common misperception is that grief ends after a loved one passes away. Grief changes over time and you learn to manage it differently, but it does not end.

I appreciated all the great advice and experiences you share in this book? What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope anyone that lost a spouse or partner feels understood, validated, and a bit of solace from reading the book. I hope people close to a widow or widower gain a better understanding of what their surviving loved ones may experience.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you lost your spouse?

Don’t expect people to understand what you’re going through, just hold on to your process and try everyday.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Sudden Widow, A True Story of Love, Grief, Recovery, and How Badly It CAN Suck! is a book for widows/widowers and anyone trying to make sense of an unbearable loss. Bella Lynn Thompson offers commiseration for widows in a world where many don’t comprehend the all-consuming grief and magnitude of change after losing a spouse. Reading this authentic, personal book, readers feel seen, heard, and supported. The inspiration of powering through an inexplicable life event is evident on every page. Perhaps most importantly, other widows will feel understood and less alone.

Sudden Widow

In Sudden Widow, Bella Thompson writes of finding the love of her life only for him to be taken away from her by a heart attack. Suddenly alone, she had to figure out how to survive and raise her two boys alone. She speaks of her experiences, of grieving, trying to keep her household afloat, and keeping it all together for herself and her two sons.

Thompson’s words spoke to me and made me feel for her. I cried reading this book because they had such an incredible love that most people wouldn’t understand, it was a real love that lasted each day he was alive. When the author describes her experience of the moment her husband died, I began to cry because I felt her pain. This is a testament to how well the author is able to relay emotions through text, along with the profound experiences shared in the book. Reading about the author and her son’s grieving process makes you reflect on your own life and how you handle grief. After losing everything, she had to find a way to live and survive while making sure that her children could survive as well. While this is a story of loss and love, it’s also the story of a mother who would do anything for her family. She writes at the end that her love for Paul will forever be a thing of beauty and joy, and that was the sweetest thing I had ever read. It was disappointing to hear the author describe how others would tell her she should be over the pain of losing her husband. As author Bella Lynn Thompson writes, time doesn’t heal the wound, you learn to manage it better and learn to get through it.

Sudden Widow is a heart wrenching, honest, enlightening and humorous read. This book will not only take you on an emotional journey but will also have you reflecting on your own life. This is a great read that will not only provide support for those grieving but guidance to those who know someone who is grieving.

Pages: 122 | ASIN: B08QSFJ2JJ

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