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A writing retreat

Last week I took myself on a two-day writing retreat to finish writing The Grief Handbook. It was glorious, and sad, and beautiful, and emotional…

I found a new theme song on the first day – Wow by Beck (check it out below). I have been singing it pretty much non-stop since… It was the perfect tune to dance out so much of the sadness I could feel settling into my cells.

I discovered Fix Me, from the same album, on the drive home… It encapsulates the strange yearning sadness I find myself swimming in.

It was such a gift to be away from real life, parenting, work, adulting for two nights. *Such* a gift. But I had to cram a whole lot of meaning into those 48 hours – I hadn’t really looked at The Grief Handbook since I submitted it in late April, and so much has happened since then. The anniversary of my mom’s death, living through what happens beyond that… It turns out, I had a lot more to say than the original draft. I’ve been taking notes for the last weeks and months, so I had a notebook full of ideas, but I had to sit down and turn them into something.

It might sound odd to say it, but I am so impressed with my self-discipline. I’ve always known I was focused, but I literally sat myself down at my desk overlooking the ocean, and wrote. And wrote. And wrote. I took a daily walk, ate a lot of snacks, drank a lot of tea, but other than that I wrote.

And oh! It was so sad. So deeply, heart-achingly sad. Both to revisit my mom’s death and my fresh grief, but also to put into words what a year 2019 was. I know that most of the world has found 2020 really challenging, but honestly? It’s been a dream in comparison to 2019 for my whole family. Remember when my husband was hit by a car 6 weeks after my mom died? Yup, me too.

I spent two whole days reliving the darkness and finding light within it, and I am pleased and proud to say that I did it. I’ve sent it off for feedback and I’ll do another draft next weekend, and then off to my editor for her feedback, and my final deadline at the end of the month.

What a gift! What a journey. Thank heavens it’s not October 2019.

the grief handbook

The Grief Handbook

The Grief Handbook is out on the 13th July 2021!

You can find out all about it, and where to buy it, on

Published inGrief

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