Wife of the Deceased

Dawn M. Bell
Dawn M. Bell (2014)
ISBN 9780990643814
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (04/15)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Wife of the Deceased’ by Dawn M. Bell on Blogcritics.

In her book “Wife of the Deceased,” Dawn M. Bell captures the trauma and devastation she experienced from the cryptic phone calls and the visit from two representatives of her husband Matt’s employer, as they delivered the unbelievable news that the cargo plane Matt was flying burst into flames and crash landed. Neither his Captain nor Matt survived.

Dawn candidly relates every facet of her journey through the grieving process over the three-year period, following her husband’s tragic death.  “Wife of the Deceased” is a tribute to Matt’s life, love, and the man he was. Her writing is honest and forthright, exposing raw feelings of anxiety, anguish, resentment, and depression; a brutally honest testimony of the pain of losing a loved one. Her world was shattered. A haunting sense of loss and a shadow of sadness hovered over special days; the bittersweet memories at holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays, as they became reminders of the number of days since Matt’s death. She also expresses gratefulness and appreciation to her family, friends, and others for their support, stepping up to the plate in the midst of her pain, providing comfort and solace during her toughest battles with the emotions of grieving. She writes to preserve parts of Ava’s and her own journey through the healing process.

Dawn describes the challenge of the reality of becoming a single parent to their four year old daughter, Ava, and the loneliness of being single. Glimpses into the grieving process of a child are woven throughout the story as she relates incidents from Ava’s journey with grief. I gained new insights into the five stages of loss and grief, and an understanding of how integration, fragmentation, and escapism influence the coping process of grieving. As a caregiver for a spouse now in the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, I have been experiencing at one level or another, denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As I read of the birth of the Dawn’s book I was inspired to resume the journaling and renew my commitment to writing “Our Journey with Alzheimer’s” and the parallels of the stages of grieving affirmed by Dawn’s writing. The last three chapters of the book will be of special significance to Hospice Chaplains, grief counselors, pastors, and those facilitating support groups as they deal with, children and loss, advice to grievers, and how to give aid to a griever.

Readers will be touched and affirmed, and will gain understanding into dealing with their anguish and the pain of living through loss reading “Wife of the Deceased” by Dawn M. Bell.  Her story will resonate with those experiencing similar feelings of grief.  They will recognize that they are not alone, and will appreciate the validation of their feelings, even as they recognize that others may respond differently to the grief process. Powerful writing. An amazing story. Definitely recommend it as a Five Star read.

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