Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Rebecca Brooke was born and has lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She currently resides in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York with her two sons, their cat, and their dog. Days are spent chauffeuring her children to practice for sports and school. Her life keeps her pretty busy, but in her down time she can be found outside hanging by the pool in the warmer months or inside reading. Rebecca loves to work out at the gym and makes sure health is a top priority. Rebecca is also an Oola ambassador, offering a lifestyle framework to help people find balance, growth, and purpose in the seven key areas of life utilizing their year of transformation platform.
About the Book
Rebecca Brooke was just thirty-nine years old when she experienced the earth-shattering and sudden loss of her husband.
Stress, trauma, and grief can affect the body in unexpected ways. Some people lose vision, or it may become blurry. For Rebecca, the world lost its color the moment she lost her husband; everything was gray.
There is no instruction manual on how to function after the loss of a partner, or how to simultaneously become a single parent to two young boys. This powerfully emotional story encourages widows to take it day-by-day, to accept that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and to discover the practice of gratitude following a broken heart. Opening a conversation on the importance of grief education, My Life in Gray: A Widow's Journey also provides much needed insight and advice for those seeking to support a loved one who has suffered a significant loss.
In this heartfelt and honest memoir, readers will learn to find flecks of color shining through the gray clouds, at their own pace, in their own way.
The process behind "The My Life in Gray: A Widow's Journey"
Q: What inspired you to write your story? Tell us a little about your background as a writer.
A: When I was faced with being a young widow, I realized there were so many things that we do not talk about in society. For as common as death is, there is such an discomfort surrounding almost every aspect. I feel we need to have more discussion around the topic.
I have always enjoyed writing, reading, and speaking. I love words. I have always been a sort of “head in the clouds” romantic and I think this adds to my love of writing.
Q: As a first-time author, what was the most difficult part of the writing process? How long did it take you to write the book?
A: The most difficult part of this process for me was going into parts of my memories that I may have put away due to the immense emotional pain they bring up. It was hard to remember the details that I lived. The events that happened. Not hard as in difficult but hard emotionally to go back in order to convey the emotions I was experiencing.
This book did not take long to write a first draft, maybe 4 to 6 months.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in releasing your story to the public?
A: I hope that this book allows widows or anyone who has experienced loss an opportunity to have a conversation about grief. This book is not a long and is written so any ages can read it. I hope it opens dialogue and allows everyone to realize it is ok to talk about grief and that we all grieve in different ways.
Q: Your story is unavoidably sad at times, but also overwhelmingly positive. How did you manage to keep a positive spin when writing about such a difficult time in your life?
A: I think my nature has always been one of a positive one. I tend to see the good in people and sometimes this has caused me to be a bit naïve. I do not believe we are here to just float on a rock and die. I believe we are here for a reason. That we meet people who teach us lessons and what we can gain something from every relationship we have. Life is learning and letting go. My mindset has only been this way because of circumstances and choices I have made. I do not do regret and I work on gratitude every chance I have. Focusing on my boys, who were so young at the time their dad died, was what kept my attitude mostly positive during the hardest moments.
Q: Do you have any advice to others who are considering writing their own memoir?
A: It is a chance to be vulnerable and tell your story. Everyone has a story. It is not easy to put yourself out there in the public eye, but if one person can be helped by part of your story, then I feel it is worth it. It is also a nice to have part of your story written down for future generations.
Q: What is the biggest change you've noticed in your perspective on life since losing your husband?
A: I have had a lot of changes since I lost Darwin. The biggest one is to let go of judgement of other people and their decisions and life choices. Nobody knows what compels someone to make a choice that seems like one we would not make.
Q: What is one thing you wish you had known after losing Darwin?
A: I wish I knew that I would be ok. After losing Darwin, I felt like I was drowning. Like life would never be happy again. I think that is a testament to my feelings for him, but in those days and weeks, I did not think life would ever be the same. It has never been the same, but it has been equally amazing. I have two absolutely amazing sons who are kind, caring and make my world what it is today. I have no doubt that Darwin would be as amazed as I am about the young men they are becoming.
Q: The importance of grief education is a theme in this book. What especially do you feel society as a whole is lacking when it comes to handling grief, both their own and others'?
A: I feel we are too afraid to show the emotions that accompany death because we are afraid of making others uncomfortable or being labeled as weak. This is a society issue that we can fix by having more conversations about the discomfort. I hope this book opens up many of them.
Q: What is one thing you wish the general public better understood about widows?
A: I believe the word itself carries a negative connotation, but I cannot do anything to change that part. I wish the public knew how that word equates with strength. I think people are afraid because of the lack of knowledge. Widows have long been in children’s books as the scary or creepy character. I do not know why this characterization has ever come into existence, but the opposite is so true. For me, being a widow is part of who I will always be. I had a great love and I lost him. I was strong enough to continue to raise our children and make a life for them that Darwin would be very proud of.
Q: What advice do you have for family members and loved ones of widows?
A: My advice is to never stop talking about the person who has died. Even if it makes you shed tears. I have never stopped talking about Darwin. My boys and I say his name often because he does still impact our lives. He does live on in our memories and hearts. This was not always an easy thing to do. When we were first in shock and deep in grief, it was very hard to say his name. It gets easier.
Q: What is your favorite moment from the book?
A: My favorite moment is when Darwin and I reunited after 15 years apart. That is one of my favorite memories of all time. I think about it often even now. Seeing him standing on the porch when I parked the car. That first hug when time stood still. The feeling of being so in love, so young, and thinking we would never be apart again. I suppose the feelings that so many people have who have never experienced loss.
Q: Do you see yourself writing any future books? Are you working on any other projects currently?
A: I do see myself writing more books. I did enjoy the process. I am currently deep in football season for both of my boys. My life has me chauffeuring and cheering them on at their games for the next couple of months, and I love it.