Blog written by, Author, Emma Grey

Three weeks after my husband died from a heart attack in 2016, my children and I walked in Australia’s “City to Surf” fun run. We’d already entered the race, months before he died, and initially thought of cancelling our tickets.

After the funeral, though, we needed a weekend away from all the sympathy cards and the dying bunches of flowers in our hallway. We packed the tissues and took our grief on the road, three hours from home.

The walk begins in the centre of Sydney near the Opera House and ends on our famous Bondi Beach. My sister and her children joined us, and we pushed ourselves through 14km, including up the notoriously challenging and aptly named, ‘Heartbreak Hill’.

I needed to feel a different sort of pain. Something physical, to distract me from the terrible wrench in my chest that had set in from the moment I found Jeff and was plunged into shock. We wanted, just for one morning, to conquer a different kind of ‘hard’.

It was the first of many steps into the new world that his death pushed us towards. First weekend away. First time coming home to a cold house, without the lights on…

There was an enormous sense of accomplishment for getting out there, and the sun and sand and sense of being mixed up in a crowd of 80,000 people, many of whom were walking for various serious causes, felt like a tiny positive spark in our new future.

Over the next few years, I found other ways to move through the pain, until my grief found its way into the pages of a now bestselling novel about a midlife widow, Kate. The Last Love Note takes us through Kate’s loss of her husband, while she begins to open her heart to someone new. I emphasize the importance of balancing grief with your everyday responsibilities, drawing from my experience of managing my grief while raising my young children.

One of the most rewarding aspects of having this story published has been the conversations it has opened up with widows from Australia to the US and Canada. A widow was in touch recently to say she’s been carrying the novel in her handbag weeks after reading it, because it’s the only thing that helps her feel ‘understood’.

In honor of my special memory of walking that day, I’m delighted to partner with the Hope for Widows Foundation and encourage you to sign up for the Widows of Hope Virtual 5K, to be held May 10-12. Together, we can raise funds and bring attention to the 245 million women who are widowed worldwide, but mostly importantly: saying their name, honoring and remembering.

Excitingly, we’re also coming together to share our experiences of widowhood in two special The Last Love Note book club events. I’d love an opportunity to meet you (no charge for the event) via Zoom and talk about loss and love, and how writing helped me piece together my world from rock bottom and make beautiful new connections.

If you’d like to prepare ahead of the FREE event, and get a copy of the book, you can get a copy here (use code HOPE10 for 10% off) and review the accompanying Book Club Kit here! If you can’t purchase a book now, that is just fine. Also, a podcast option is available as well.

Sending you love and strength from Australia!

See you soon and look forward to meeting you to talk about loss, grief and widowhood! Sign up links below! Note we have two options for you to choose from!

Book Club/ Widowhood and Grief Discussion – Option 1
April 30 at 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/ 8pm ET

Register here:

Book Club/ Widowhood and Grief Discussion – Option 2
May 5 at 12pm PT/1pm MT/2pm CT/ 3pm ET
ABOUT EMMA GREY: Emma Grey is an acclaimed Australian journalist and young adult fiction writer. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Canberra Times, and Herald SunThe Last Love Note is her debut adult novel. She lives in Canberra, Australia, with her family. You can read more about her here 


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