Betty Auchard is a native of Iowa and lived in the Midwest until
1956. When her husband, Denny, became a member of the faculty of
San Jose State University in San Jose, California, the family relocated
permanently to the West Coast. She raised four children, became a
grandmother of nine, earned a teaching credential, and eventually
taught high school art.
Betty’s fiber arts – batik, nature printing on fabric and paper, and
hand spun wools dyed with plants – have been included in periodicals
such as Threads magazine and such books as Leaf Printing on Fabric by Jean Ray Laury and Making Journals by Hand by Jason Thompson.
After her husband died in 1998, writing became Betty’s tool for
healing and eventually took on a life of its own. Many of her memoir
stories have been published in the Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul series,
anthologies by Simon & Schuster, and will eventually appear in her own
collection titled My Second Act. She’s also writing about her experiences growing up poor in Iowa in the 1930s.
In addition to writing full-time, Betty has been a public speaker
since May 2002 presenting the humorous, inspiring story of her book to
groups and organizations in the Bay Area of California. My Second Act
tells of her adventures and misadventures while learning how to be single at 68 when she had never been single before. She feels that after suffering a loss, surviving and thriving are necessary for recovery and
should be celebrated.
Contact Betty for information regarding presentations or a CD of Betty reading 14 poignant and funny stories from My Second Act.
115 Belhaven Dr.
Los Gatos, CA95032
Whenever I learn that a friend has lost a spouse or significant other, my heart aches. I know what lies ahead for her because losing a long-time partner is a life-altering experience.
When my good friend’s husband was dying of cancer, she and I
kept in close touch by email since she lived over a thousand miles
away. I knew that any time of the day or night she might need
someone to talk to. After she became a widow, I was her primary
“Grieving is pure hell,” she wrote. “Betty, I don’t know
how you got through it.”
I never consciously thought about how I got through grief,
but my gut had told me that I couldn’t avoid the pain that was
ahead. People are supposed to die and those left behind are supposed to feel sad. So I waded through my bereavement the only
way I knew – which was head on. I cried when I felt like it and
laughed whenever I could. I never stopped moving and prayed all
the time. My daily plea was, “God, please keep me afloat.”
What helped even more than praying was having someone
to listen as I babbled on and on. I talked endlessly, and only those
who understood tolerated it. By retelling the events of Denny’s death, I was finally able to absorb the reality of my loss. I missed him so much that it took a long time before I got used to the fact that he was gone for good and that my life would never be the same again.
I joined a support group, which may not be for everyone, but it helped me. I didn’t mind crying with others as we shared our sadness, regrets, and sometimes anger. It touched me to see a man in my group weeping over the loss of his wife, regretting that he had never learned to do the laundry or cook his own eggs. Another man had never written a check because his wife took care of the finances.