Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Shifting Once Again

Hello Dear Readers,

I'm having my website worked on as we speak. It will be getting a visual overhaul within the coming month, but more importantly, this blog will be merging with my website. Meaning, I'll be now blogging from my website: Please join me there.



p.s. Updates about my upcoming book will be listed on my webpage, too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Grief Revisited"

Earlier this month, I did a short reading at our local No Shame Eugene show. This was an excerpt from Chapter Sixteen of my memoir Smell the Blue Sky: young, pregnant, and widowed.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, please send me your email so I can sign you up for my newsletter that will keep you abreast of publication news.

Thanks so much for watching!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Here I Go Again isn't just a Whitesnake song

I'm thinking of "un-archiving" my Grief Shadows blog. Starting it up again. I'm on the internet in so many places right now, and I hesitate to repeat myself in different cyber-venues, but I also don't want to miss someone who could really use the information I'm handing out. Not that I'm some great expert or anything. I just know how to grief. How to let go, move on, but not.

My memoir, Smell the Blue Sky -- Young, Pregnant, and Widowed, is due to be published November 8, 2013. I'm very excited to finally have a finished product to supply to the world of widows that need to hear another's story. That there is another side to grief. That there can be love after death, without betrayal.

My book cover is being designed at this very moment, and the interior layout and ebook conversion start next month.

Promotion starts now.

I'm flying to Massachusetts next Tuesday to drop off my kids with their Vavo (Rob's mom), and then flying straight back into Oregon for the 2013 Willamette Writers Conference. I always look forward to the conference: the networking, the staff, the reuniting with conference friends, the home-y community feel when I walk into the lobby.

Two years ago, I made the decision to self-publish instead of going the traditional route. I researched it up the wazoo, and concluded it was the way for me. And now here it is ... publication ... right around the corner.

I hope that you'll stay tuned, buy my book on launch day, and that you'll feel inspired to leave a review in the multiple places you can leave reviews these days. (Amazon, LibraryThing, GoodReads, your blog, et cetera.)

Until next time ...

Be well.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Introducing the New Me by Kim Malchuk

Introducing Kim Malchuk. My first guest submission! Keep 'em coming.

Guest Blog Submission 
Editorial Contact: Kathy Cabrera,, 770.569.8221

Introducing the New Me...Like Me or Not?
By Kim Malchuk
As my husband Mel was in the final stages in his battle with terminal cancer, I faithfully sat by his side preparing myself for how my life would be without him. I knew it was going to be a scary transition but I thought I was being realistic by readying myself to face the future alone. I was terribly mistaken. 

What I would not realize until many months after he passed was that the service was not just for Mel. Invisible to our friends and family there were two people lying in that casket. The ‘Kim’ that everyone knew was gone forever. 

Experiencing a major loss in life cannot help but change you. When coming to terms with a devastating loss it is not unusual for people to re-examine themselves and life in general. While in the process rediscovering your ‘new’ self this can bring about discomfort to some of the people around you. Change is inevitable but not everyone is open or willing to accept change.

It had been approximately 6 months after Mel’s passing that I was waiting and hoping to catch a small glimpse of the person I used to be. I waited with anticipation but she never came to visit. It was at this time it finally became very clear that my waiting was pointless. My old normal was gone forever and I needed to find my new normal going forward.

Once the fog was beginning to clear I discovered something very interesting about the people we choose to have in our lives. I assumed that certain people would always be there for me; however, I quickly learned that is not always the case. 

Through no fault of their own some people will slowly distance themselves for a number of reasons. They too are having a difficult time dealing with the loss and the surviving spouse is a constant reminder making them feel awkward. They don’t know what to say or do for the one left behind so they slowly disappear. The fear of talking about it after the fact makes them feel uncomfortable so the words completely come to a halt. They only saw you as being part of ‘the couple’ and now that is gone so the dinner invitations stop being delivered. Some get frustrated and don’t understand why it’s taking so long for us to ‘snap out of it.’

The lesson I learned from my grieving journey is that everyone who comes into our lives are gifts. Mel taught me that. The friends who faded away were only meant to be in my life for a certain amount of time. By vacating themselves they made room for new friends to appear that would bring me back to life...a new and different life.

I have not harboured any ill-will to those who came and left. Death affects people in many different ways but it is up to them to deal with their emotions no how they will move forward. My obligation was to heal myself first, last and always. I did this by writing, reading, spending time alone and with new friends. I got involved with new activities that would help me discover new things about myself I had never known before. 

My grief journey has been a life-changing experience. I compare it to a wild rollercoaster ride because it was filled with ups and downs and loops and hoops. When I was able to finally get off that ride I emerged a changed woman. My feelings about how others perceive me are none of my business. Either you like me or you don’t. Death made me appreciate and learn how to live a more meaningful life. I choose to live it with hope, love, happiness and a whole lot of gratitude.

# # #
About the Author: Cancer took Kim Malchuk’s husband, but not the enduring spirit of their love. Now a motivational coach, speaker and award-winning author, Kim shares her personal journey of loss, healing and hope in her new book, Tasting Rain ( 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Secret Lessons From Books and Grief

A cross post from Insane Parents Unite!

Emotional spilling over.

While reading a book, I move from one scene to the next -- one sentence to the next -- and start to cry. With no hint of a reason why.

"... 'Don't worry so much, my dear," [the doctor] says reassuringly. "There's no such thing as being allergic to India.'

One night, I dream of Nana. ..."

My chest tightens and I feel warm all over. A distant observer part of me thinks, Here's your emotional PMS showing up. That's good. Let it come then.

Not really expecting that it would.
But it did.

The hotness wells up to my throat and then eyes. I feel the moisture and with even breaths I exhale through open mouth repeatedly until I can gain control.

What was wrong with me? Where did that come from? PMS might (ok, does) make me tender and sensitive, but there's always a catalyst. Where did this come from? I was just reading. About nothing emotional. A follow-up trip to a doctor and 'one night I dream of Nana.'

I look up, holding the tears in my eyelids like little bowls. I'm still pushing the heat out with my breath.

Why did those two unrelated sentences cause me grief?

The eyelashes of my right eye stick together and poke my eyeball. I blink rapid staccato and the light from the NJ windows looks like a strobe light for a few seconds. I continue blowing the emotional pain out.

I used to hold my breath when I'd cry. But then I learned that our muscles hold memories, and holding our breath while crying did something similar. It made the dense emotion of grief to stay within. Now I struggle to breathe when I cry. To let it out. For realsies.

Being taken care of.

I blink the eyelash straight and two solid fat globs of tears drain down my cheeks.
Like twins.
Separated at birth but still unknowingly doing things simultaneously, across the country.

The doctor had compassion and kindness for his patient. A tenderness.
The Nana the author dreamed of loved her. Shared a special bond with her. The author was going on a quest for her now departed Nana.

I look to my own life. Past and Present. And feel loss and emptiness. Loneliness. No one to care for me now. No grandmother figure in my life. Nor mother figure really either. As mine has geographically and , I fear, emotionally drifted from me. And the woman I associated as my other mother figure for years has done the same. Only I am to blame, if not solely, for that. For divorcing her son.

Feeling ever much the victim, I wallow, and my stomach sours and my lungs harden.

I am not blowing anymore.

I am in my lover's house.
He cares for me.
Nurtures me.
Holds me.
Aches for me.
Does anything and everything for me.

Is this why I love him?
Is that a good reason to love someone? Because they love *you*?
(No. Otherwise I'd still be married to my ex.)
But somehow N's love for me and mine for him feels different. Newer. With more promise. More possibility. More passion.

I'm distracted by the blue sky and the sticks of branches that have lost their leaves to autumn, and the Arabic French music of Souad Massi fills the apartment. I wonder if it contributed to my mini-meltdown.

N. and I spoke yesterday of tradition and heritage. Ancestry. What to pass on to your children's generation. What do I want to bring? What can I bring?

Certainly this love. This love and compassion and caring that I spontaneously cried about. This delicate reminder of the importance of life and love.

And my love of books and words.
And magic.
The seasonal changes.
The Full Moon song.
And reading in bed at night.

I can bring those things to my children.

What can you bring yours?
What reminders have you found in books lately?

Monday, September 12, 2011

How are you Grieving?

Instead of asking "How are you doing?", ask "How are you grieving?"

This makes far more sense to me as a recovering griever. Whenever someone asked "How are you doing?" -- and I could even be crying when they asked -- I'd always stop mid-blubber and stare at them slack-jawed. Like I'd been slapped. HARD.

My internal responses were: "What the fuck do you think?! [insert irreverent name based on gender]", or a more generic - yet not quite vanilla - "I feel like shit. Duh."

Instead, out loud, I resorted to "Fine" or a shrug with a trailing off "Well ..." or "You know ..." Embarrassed-like.

And then I'd feel even more shitty for suggesting that I was "Fine" that my husband had just died, and I felt like throwing up in my mouth a little bit.

Seriously. Don't put grievers in that situation.

What you really want to know anyway is how they are grieving. Do they stare at the wall? Are they sleeping? Can they eat yet?

Ask those questions.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Posts Coming Soon

I'd like to start inhabiting this blog more often. Showing up and spreading peace and hope through other people's grief and loss stories. This may seem ironic to some, but grieving people often find great solace in hearing about other's grief. It reinforces that they aren't alone on this great scary trek of widowhood (or whatever their loss embodies.)

In the near future, look for an inspiring woman named Kim coming to this blog to tell her story. She's an ordinary woman, a storyteller, a motivational coach ... and a widow. 

I look forward to welcoming Kim to these pages.