On August 1, 2015, my husband Peter suddenly died in my arms. One minute he was laughing and happy and the next minute, my beloved husband of 47 years was dead. I was in shock. I fell to the floor with heaving sobs, not able to comprehend what had happened. Suddenly, out of nowhere, my life, as I knew it, was over. We had the most amazing marriage. I don’t know many marriages where couples spend so much time together and still want more. Now he was gone and I was unexpectedly thrust into widowhood.
I have discovered that women today are more open about the pain of childbirth than they are about the pain of grief. We used to hide the reality of childbirth, but now we talk openly about ways to help each other cope with the pain. Years ago we talked in hushed tones about cancer as the “c” word, never wanting to say it aloud and give it credence. Plastic surgery was another unmentionable subject but today we talk openly about our fillers and scars. Even anti-depressants were taboo subjects but today, people proudly talk about their doses of Prozac and Lexipro!
A month after Peter died I put all my feelings into a treatise called Demoted to Lunch; the Underbelly of Grief. The Huffington Post ran it, and it went viral. It seems no one talks with raw emotion and humor about grief. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg changed the landscape for widows in her beautiful treatise, written thirty days after her beloved husband died. I met Sheryl a few months after Peter died. She was open and encouraging. She told me to keep journalizing online, which would help me in my process. I am so grateful to Sheryl for opening the door for me to talk openly about grief. In my mind, I called this my “journey through grief.” Writing was the one outlet that kept me sane. When I was upset or stressed, I wrote, and it helped me to come to grips with my feelings. I now have a regular blog on The Huffington Post where I get the most amazing feedback and comments which are listed below. I feel that I speak for myself and other widows making a plea for us to grieve openly, sobbing away our pain, without stigmas, taboos, and other hindrances in our paths.
Laurie Burrows Grad is a grief blogger, cookbook author, television chef, food journalist, and activist/fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her cookbooks include Make It Easy in the Kitchen; Make It Easy Entertaining; Make It Easy, Make It Light; and Entertaining Light & Easy. Each of her books has been nominated for the cookbook industry’s highest awards. She hosted her own cable TV cooking show, Laurie Cooks Light & Easy, which aired on The Learning Channel as well as The Travel and Living Channel.
She is currently the editor-in-chief for one of the top food sites on the web, www.epicurus.com, where she contributes regular features on travel and food.
In the humanitarian arena, she is a highly regarded activist for the National Alzheimer’s Association.
Twenty-four years ago, she created an annual, star-studded fundraising dinner, A Night at Sardi’s, and has been the event’s chairperson ever since, along with her husband Peter Grad, raising over 30 million dollars.
Sadly on August 1, 2015, her husband of 47 years, Peter Grad, died suddenly. Laurie is now blogging about her grief weekly on Huffington Post.
Huffington Post Blog
Comments From Blog Readers
- “This is everything I wish I could tell people. I lost my husband of fifteen years almost two months ago. He was only 37. This article touches on everything I wish people could know.”
- Thank you, thank you, Laurie. You continue to be my voice. You are spot on. Please do not stop!
- “It is hard to talk about grief. At times you don’t want to overburden anyone and really how could they understand unless they have been there?”
- “It is just amazing how you can write what I am feeling. You have to compile these into a book!”
- “Laurie, you are my hero. The way you’ve navigated this year is an inspiration and a testament to the grit and love that reside in your heart. You rise, sister. It’s who you are and you may have not have realized how strong you had become in life until you were called upon to be the full being that was always inside you. You blow me away.”
- “All of us who grieve for a lost loved ones find meaning in your words.”
- “You have provided tremendous insight and guidance not only for those grieving the loss of their loved one, but for those of us who have friends who have been widowed.”
- “Your choice of words, the imagery is like an arrow meeting its mark. Please hang in there. It is your misfortune and fortune all at the same time to have had a larger than life man, husband and best friend.”
- “Thank you again for your writings. I’ve shared them with other recent and not so recent widows and we all agree they are “spot on.” We wait to see how you will make us laugh and of course cry, as we go forward in this totally unwanted chapter in our lives.
- When I think…can I do this??? I reread some of your blogs and I know I can and that I will…”
- “Laurie, this is brilliant and It’s wonderful that you found a way to post this. None of us get to be the age we are without experiencing the death of people we love but you explain so exquisitely that losing your life partner stands alone. I can tell from how wonderfully you write that you can continue to have much to share about this taboo subject of grief. It’s the hardest damn thing to talk about and you have important insights to share.”
- “These beautiful essays call out for a much wider circulation. Anyone suffering through the loss of a loved one would benefit from the sensitivity, wisdom and common sense contained in each one. When the time is right for you, put ’em together, get a book publisher and title it Grieving”
- Hope you keep the journal going and keep writing about what’s in it. You’re wonderful at getting your feelings on paper. It’ll surely help you deal with the undealable and it unquestionably (as you’ve already seen) will help readers who are enduring grief themselves but don’t have your talent for expressing it.
- “This one offered much solace, I didn’t want it to end. You are a gift to us all who live with loss. Extraordinary and deeply important!”
- “Thank you! It’s quite moving to see you moving forward in a most profound way and helping us all!”
- “And I am voting for you staying just like you are. I think you hit a near perfect pitch. It’s impressive. Not easy to do in this field.”