A MOTHER who was tragically widowed at the age of 36 has captured the complex emotions surrounding bereavement in a candid memoir of life without her soulmate.
In Me After You, writer and creative writing teacher Lucie Brownlee charts the first two years after the sudden death of beloved husband, Mark.
Aged just 37, the intelligence analyst died after suffering a catastrophic arrhythmia at their Newcastle home in February 2012.
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Honest, harrowing and often humorous, the book is a based on her award-winning blog, Wife After Death and, in her words, is a true account of “loss, love and ultimately hope, with a generous slug of red wine.”
It will be launched at Waterstones in Newcastle today (Saturday, July 12).
For any author, the publication of a first book is a momentous occasion but it is especially meaningful for Ms Brownlee, now 38 and living near Sedgefield, County Durham, with her six-year-old daughter.
“I grappled about writing the book and what Mark would have thought,” she said.
“I think he would be very proud of me. It is a tribute to Mark. It has truly been a labour of love.”
Me After You chronicles everything from first birthdays and first dates; to excessive spending, drinking and inappropriate liaisons with a plumber.
There are also moments of tender grief, despair and recklessness, which Ms Brownlee believes are important to portray.
“I have always written but after Mark died I found I couldn’t write a coherent sentence,” she said.
“It was not until April the following year that I could contemplate writing again. I felt no-one understood what I was going through because people my age tend to be getting married and having children, becoming a widow was something they couldn’t comprehend.
“I felt isolated but found comfort on web forums for young widows. A lot of the bereavement books I had read spoke about the grieving process and the different phases. That wasn’t my experience at all. It has been chaotic – an emotional rollercoaster.
“By writing the blog and hearing from other people in my position, I have realised that is ok to feel this way. I hope my book will bring comfort to other people who have lost someone they loved.”
Me After You is published by Virgin Books and is available at bookshops and amazon.co.uk, priced £11.99.