We’re back with author Audrie Clifford today. I met her when I won a copy of one of her books Maggie Whitson from GoodReads. When I contacted her saying I hadn’t received the book she willingly sent me another one even though she had sent one earlier. It’s a charming story (fiction) about an old woman who finds herself not as independent as she’d like and has to spend time in an ‘old folks home’. Here’s the link to my review. http://wp.me/p40XtX-5u
Audrie and I just sort of click. You know how it is when you meet someone and you feel completely at ease? We have been trading emails back and forth since last summer getting to know each other. What is astounding to me about Audrie is that the woman is 80 years old, feisty and bold. She says how it is. Sometimes, that could be off-setting, but I found it refreshing! No dancing around words with Audrie!
I decided to read her second book, Another Damn Newcomer. This was a memoir of an 18 year span of her life living in a little town ( (300-500 people) named Reserve, New Mexico. She loved this part of her life she tells me. In fact, they were her best years in her opinion. I’ve attached the link to the review here. http://wp.me/p40XtX-dK
But it appears that Audrie needed to write another book. She wrote Dimensions. This one is somewhere between real events in her life and her imagination. You see, Audrie lost her husband almost four years ago. If you are one of those women who have lost your husband, (Audrie says let’s not dance around words again)…. So if you are one of those women whose husband has died you know the devastation of all it implies. Those who still have their husbands, I say, love them and appreciate them every day.
Audrie worked at a newspaper writing a column while in Reserve and had written for years and years. But her novel and memoir writing is quite recent. She wrote Dimensions to ease her pain and show how much she learned from Mike, her husband.
So I’ve invited Audrie to share something of herself on my blog today.
Thank you Audrie for coming by. It’s hard to talk about death and dying. You’ve been wonderful sharing with your readers. What are your thoughts now, after four years without Mike?
My husband’s death was the largest single event in my lifetime. It divided everything into “With Mike” and “Without Mike”. We both knew he would live much longer than I would, so I had never even considered life without him. I had never lived alone, either.
When he was gone so suddenly, I submerged myself in work. I knew I would have to move and there was an ungodly amount to be done. The focus of trying to sort, pack, and discard many of our possessions kept me going throughout the daytime and I (mostly) only surrendered to the tears and despair after dark.
Those things that I attributed to Sam in the story were things that in real life made me feel that Mike was somehow still around. I had to make my fictional female, Carol, much younger than I was to give her more of a life in the story. So much of this was written as tears streamed down my face.
My thoughts about life after death are that it may be much like what is depicted in the story. I hope so, and there’s always that yearning to be with him again. Truth is, nothing is nearly as much fun without him.
Audrie, what was fictional in this story other than your characters and their ages? I have to ask you about the flood in the kitchen. Did it really occur?
Carol’s experience under the sink was actually mine, and yes, it was awful. If you’re considering something similar, here’s my very best advice:
First, locate the shut-off valve. Close it, so the water is shut off. Then check the sink. If it’s really shut off, turn it on again. Shut it off again. After doing this a time or two, you can feel pretty confident about doing it. I didn’t do this, you’ll notice.
Yes, the way that Sam died in the book was how Mike died. So it was just that sudden.
I did get together with other widows (god, how I hated that word! I couldn’t even say it at first) and we formed the Good Grief group. One member did get married, just like in the book.
I did share coffee with the Native American man in the grocery store, but he was a Navajo from Alamo, New Mexico. We had lived in Tucson for about four years, so I was familiar with the Arizona tribes and locations. I never saw the man again.
I didn’t get a job at the newspaper, nor was I taken out to dinner by the editor. That’s why I had to make Carol younger — so she could have a life.
I did speak to the group concerning death as told near the end of the book, and that’s about all I can think of to clarify.
A final remark that she strongly believes in.
And, Eileen, if you and your husband haven’t made certain that other one knows about your wishes regarding your own deaths, I urge you to do so. It’s tremendously important.
I hope that those who have read Audrie’s kind remarks will drop by today and tell her.
About the Story: Carol has just lost her husband. It was completely unexpected. It was so sudden, that even her husband Sam wasn’t sure he was dead!
Sam takes us on a journey of the afterlife, learning what lessons he could have learned while living, but glad to know he had another chance to get it right. He is learning how to ‘live’ in death. He moves through another dimension and with a thought is able to see Carol and see how she is doing. Sam is worried about her and wants her to get back on her feet and enjoy her life again. He is also on his own journey propelled by who he is to find peace in his death.
It’s a story about a woman learning how to live without her husband, dealing with all the little problems life comprises, keeping her days busy without thought and then spending nights when all alone struggling with grief.
My Thoughts: This simple story eloquently portrays, yes, even with humor, the pain, suffering and frustration a woman experiences when she loses her husband. Author Audrie Clifford, with her years of experience and wisdom, proposes through Sam the afterlife is experienced differently by each person for each are individuals who walk the journey of life with different understandings.
Ms. Clifford makes room for the idea that indeed there are many rooms in God’s house and each are filled with different believers. Sam, with an eagerness to learn how to deal with death walks a path learning many gems of knowledge before he reaches his final peace.
I think that this book will speak to many types of people. It certainly spoke to me. It brought up some very thought-provoking issues and has a message for those exploring what the afterlife might be. It provides solace that a person can survive and live again after the death of their husband. The story entertained me with words of wisdom sprinkled throughout. Thank you Audrie for sharing your life lessons.