Find information about submitting your own widow story or to contribute to WidowSpeak in other ways.

Download a PDF version to print

Download Adobe Reader

More Poetry (+/-)

More Stories (+/-)

Featured Story
  My Second Act

by Betty Auchard

page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Betty AuchardBetty 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.

Betty Auchard
115 Belhaven Dr.
Los Gatos, CA95032
(408) 356-8224

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 support system.

“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.


  Comments or inquiries about this story? or 707-824-8030
  page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4