Radio Interview with Lynda Cheldelin Fell and Angie Cartwright

Q. Someone called you the “funniest widow on earth.”

A. I confess. I said it. Then, happily it caught on. Maybe, I should have played it down and said the 2nd or 3rd funniest? But, actually, it’s not that big a statement because a lot of widows are grumpy. I guess they have their reasons…

Q. Your book was originally a blog. 

A. Yes. I still love to write the “Widow Bits” blog on my new site but it was frustrating that a reader might miss the ‘good ones” so I put them all under one cover. It’s always been my dream to write a book.  I just never expected that this would be the subject.

Q. You’ve said that when your husband realized he wasn’t going to make it, he said to you, “This will be a life changer for you. It will be an adventure.”

A. Can you believe he said that? There he was knowing he was dying and only 56 years old and he’s thinking of me! I’d be the same way, though. If I were dying, I’d also be thinking of ME!

Q. Jimmy died in April 2006. What do you wish you knew that first year?

The beginning was foggy and foggier. I continually felt unsure about what to do and where to be. It was like I had the flu all the time. Maybe, I did have the flu…but I guess not for a year…that’s unlikely.

I wish I knew that life does get better and I would eventually feel comfortable in my own skin. Here’s an example: In my book I wrote a simple passage called “Living Alone.”

It reads, “The ice in the glass had melted, but it was still on the kitchen table. Nothing moves if I don’t move it.”

Now that was a sort of sad way of saying, “I’m here alone. Unless there’s a strong breeze blowing through my kitchen things stay where I put them.”

Not that my husband was such a great putter awayer, but when someone else is in the house with you the energy is different.

The point is about three years later when I had people over, instead of poor widow me pouting, “Nothing moves if I don’t move it, it was more like “Leave my stuff alone!”

Q. Loss and grief are different for each person. Can you describe how it is for you?

A. For me, one of the worst parts of loss is you loose someone who shared your past. You could say one word, make one gesture and they get it. So, when people say ‘a little bit of me died with him/her it’s not really metaphorical – it’s true.

Q. Your keynotes and your writing is always funny and upbeat. 

A. Thanks for noticing that. (laughs) I guess I’m wired to be funny. It’s phenomenal to watch people shuffle into a room kind of drained and on the verge of tears and see them leave with a pep in their step. Too bad that doesn’t happen in my talks and workshops! (laughs)