Goodreads asked Michelle D. Jarvie:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

Michelle D. Jarvie I started writing THEN & NOW: CHANGED PERSPECTIVES OF A YOUNG WIDOW in the third year after my husband died from a terrible motor vehicle collision. We were in our twenties and had been married for only 13 months. I felt so lonely as I read book after book from young or middle-aged widow(er)s who talked about their kids or saying goodbye after a long illness; I did not relate at all. Further, the books I found were written after one or two years in grief and spoke so highly of transformation and even remarriage. That timeline was fast and unrealistic for me.

In my third year, I started writing a Table of Contents, if the day came that I ever figured out how to deal with my toughest components of young widowhood. This included well-intentioned people, depression, being "strong," expressing anger, other widows, and fear. When I became a teacher (I went back to school after he died) and started sharing with my high schoolers why I changed careers and was standing before them, many asked if I would write a book about it. Many of these students would spend their lunches with me as they wanted to talk about their own losses and anxieties, and hear how I made it through mine.

These conversations made me wonder: Could I write a book that compared the raw first year with the fifth or sixth year to highlight how perspectives change? To highlight coping mechanisms that worked? To present a long-term picture of recovery? Even though I hadn't yet made it to year five, the idea was born and I started writing what I remembered about the first year. When I made it to year five, I revisited the half-written book over the summer and was amazed at how different I felt about life and what my life now looked like. Finding a way to show this to others became a worthy goal again, and I decided to finish the book.

More Answered Questions

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more