Why I Told Anne Lamott My Husband Died


Modern Loss published a short piece of mine today.

I wrote it last spring about an experience a whole year before. Like many of my pieces, it began really with a question that the writing process helped me to address. I was frustrated and wondering why I still had to “tell the story” at all.

I swore to myself that I wouldn’t do it. “I will not tell her ‘the story,” I’d thought. I was waiting in line at a writer’s conference to have my book signed by the keynote speaker, Anne Lamott. The line was moving quickly, and I was thinking about what to say, surprised by my sudden self-consciousness.  

I’ve long admired Lamott’s writing voice, the way she weaves together the lighter moments and really hard things in life with grace. I’ve chuckled out loud at her honesty and, often, her self-deprecating humor. And as is the case with any good writer with a strong voice, her readers, including me, come to feel that we know her. As a widowed parent raising an only child alone after my husband died seven years ago, I also felt a connection with her because she had raised a son on her own.  

Please visit Modern Loss for the complete piece.

4 thoughts on “Why I Told Anne Lamott My Husband Died”

  1. It will always be part of your story, Julia, because you have been transformed by it, painfully but beautifully. I’m part of a support group for ppl with different mental health diagnoses and their families, and we always say that our lives are impacted by the MH disorder but we are not defined by it. We are so much more! Anne Lammott is one of my favorites too!

  2. Julia, I feel like every time you talk about your story, a part of you feels a bit more free. Talking is a part of healing, so I think sharing your story is making you stronger. At least that’s how I feel when I talk about my husband’s sudden passing. You taught me about Hope and I hope one day our hearts can feel some sense of happiness. Life will never be the same without our husbands but I know they are helping us navigate through this world. There are signs all around. You are strong, beautiful, brave, brilliant and most importantly an AMAZING mom. Sending hugs!

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