Thursday, February 11, 2010

The heart's journey of bereavement from a Willows author


"On December 17, 2002," writes Shari Edwards, "my husband Ted passed way, leaving me behind in a world I had not faced alone in twenty-five years. I went into the desert--into a cave." Her story is told with clarity and deep emotion in "Sometimes, Memories Are All We Have" ($15.95 in paperback from Memoir Books/Heidelberg Graphics). The book is available at Lyon Books in Chico or from the author at

Edwards is scheduled to appear on Nancy's Bookshelf, hosted by Nancy Wiegman, this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on Northstate Public Radio, KCHO 91.7 FM in Chico.

The book is divided into sections that chronicle a journey of bereavement. It begins in the desert, fighting "grief monsters" (her father died a year later), living "a bat-like existence" in an emotional cave. "Sometimes there are too many memories, their fingers around my throat. . . . Sometimes there would be a knock on the cave door. I would lie still, not responding. But eventually, friends and family just walked in, uninvited, holding a candle against the dark, looking for me."

Gradually Edwards emerged and started to write again. But the passage to the light led through an emotional swamp that she and her daughter had to travel together.

Though the author was raised a Catholic, Edwards writes that Ted believed in a "metaphysical" world in which "loved ones who had passed over" could be reached. The author visited a medium in Chico and became convinced that Ted was telling her to "move on." "I planted ninety tiny zinnias. . . . By summer's end I will have a ribbon of bright colors."

But then came a "wrong turn," an intense affair with someone she had known since kindergarten. She trusted, fell in love, planned for marriage, then he suddenly dropped it all. Her heart was "stomped on . . . without a conscience." Yet she survived. "With a new understanding that our time on earth is short I rush to right wrongs, to love better. . . . Now, I am more comfortable with my mortality. I do not fear it, but in this autumn of my life I do not celebrate it." She asks God for more time. "I am not finished yet."

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