BW 006: Young Widow Now Published Author Chases Her Dreams and How You Can, Too

Nov 28, 2022
 

Watch the Video by clicking here or listen on Apple or Spotify podcasts.  Transcript available below.

Many times as widows we feel like our future dreams and plans evaporate along with our spouse. We feel insecure about the future and may even have to relearn who we are and what we want in this new version of life.

In today’s episode, Elaine Roth shares her experience with:

  • Anticipatory grief struggles; when you’re holding on to that 1% chance
  • Reality of loss as it sets in
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Fear from others and friendships
  • Chasing her dream
  • Bittersweet milestone moments

Elaine has a beautiful story of resilience, vulnerability, hope, and perseverance.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with grief and need help with household tasks but aren’t sure how to ask for it, you can find a full checklist of ideas in the free resource toolkit at bravewidow.com/free. 


Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary. Nathan and I have four beautiful children together. My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him. With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future. I want to help others do the same, too!

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL: Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow 

Listen to The Brave Widow Show on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/brave-widow-show/id1654819220 

Listen to The Brave Widow Show on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5gegjSME4ooP4xIr9Sqwdm

 


Transcript:

BWS 006 Elaine Roth
===

[00:00:00] Emily Jones: Hey everyone. Thanks for tuning in to today's episode of the Brave Widow Podcast. Today I have an amazing guest speaker. Her name is Elaine Roth. Elaine is a New Jersey based author and Pilates instructor who writes about young widowhood, grief, and dating as a solo parent. Her work has appeared on Huff Post Refinery 29 Modern Loss and Scary Mommy.

Her story was also featured on people.com and in the New York Times. She has two kids, an adorably neurotic rescue dog who keeps her busy when she's not writing or teaching Pilates. You can find her on elaine roth.com or connect with Elaine on Instagram at This Young Widow Life. You are not going to want to miss this story.

Elaine is a beautiful person on the inside and out, and I can't wait for you to hear what she has to share today.

Hi Elaine and welcome to the show today. I'm so excited to have you here and for people to get to hear your story.

[00:01:04] Elaine Roth: Thank you so much. This is actually my first podcast, so I'm so excited to be here. For kind of this message which I really... It's something that, it just feels important to me as a young widow to give that message of empowerment and share my story. It's something I've been doing since I became a widow, so I'm so excited to get this chance.

[00:01:23] Emily Jones: Awesome. Yeah, I just, I'm amazed at all the things that you're doing which I know you'll share some of that and all the things that you have coming up in the future, and it's so encouraging to see other people who have gone through something bad and they're creating something good that can come out of that, or maybe something that can help encourage other people.

Why don't you just tell us a little bit about you and, your relationship with your spouse and what all of that looks like and share your story?

[00:01:56] Elaine Roth: Sure. So I'll start with sharing my story of how I met Matt my late husband, cuz I think it's an adorable little story. So I went out to I was 22. I went out to a club in New York City with two friends. We didn't have tickets. We went through a promoter, I don't know if anyone knows New York City Life, but we were waiting in line.

We were just standing outside in February in 2005, I think maybe 2004, just waiting in line. Unbeknownst to me, Matt and his friends knew the DJ or something. They walked right in, which is always just a funny kind of, he's the guy walking to the club and I'm waiting the line in the back. In the club, I have a very, the only point I remember is at some point I looked over and I saw a guy in this brown leather jacket.

We made eye contact across the dance floor and I we looked at each other and then I gave him an opening to come talk to me. I walked away from my friends. He had a chance to come talk to me. He bought me a drink. He gave me his business card, and at the time he was Matt was always so entrepreneur, entrepreneurial, which I loved about him and so ambitious.

So he was actually selling toilet seat covers. So he gave me this business card with a toilet seat on it and I was like, oh, what am I doing with this?

So I wrote down my phone number for him. He called me probably three days later and the voicemail that he left me, He in the voicemail, he said, whatever, we met at Club Glow.

And then he said, if you're the kind of girl who plays games, don't bother calling me back. And I just remember being like, huh, that is hysterical.

Who says that on a voicemail? And I just thought it was the funniest thing. So I called him back. As it turns out, I learned a couple years later from his sister, instantly after he left that voicemail, he called her and he said to her, I just left the Wackest voicemail for this girl.

There's no way she's calling me back, .

So

I love that. I love that he was just uninhibited in that moment and like just accidentally said it and it just resonated and I thought it was really funny. So we dated for about two years. After the first date it just clicked. I remember just laughing on our first date the entire time.

Then we dated for two years. We got married had moved to New Jersey. We had two kids, pretty close, one after another. We had a really good marriage. We were just, we were always laughing. We were always doing something. I remember calling. For us. I remember saying, it's the frenzy. It's like, all right, what's the next thing we're doing?

Like, all right, now we're buying a house. Now we're having a kid. Now we're having a kid. And I remember saying to him like, what are we gonna do when we're done ? Which now feels a little bit sad. Cause we were always, I don't regret that we were always in this rush to what's the next thing we're doing?

What's the next thing? Cause we got so much in, we didn't, we were married just under 10 years. But I feel like we got a lot of life in those 10 years. I don't regret the rushing. I think maybe that was the universe helping us out saying do it.

[00:04:49] Emily Jones: Right.

[00:04:49] Elaine Roth: So in about, so we always had this just really good connection.

And then probably about May, 2016, I started noticing things were off between us. We were bickering a little bit more than usual. Bickering is normal, but it was some, something was like strange. The energy between us. So I sat him down and I said, is this kind of this seven year marriage ditch?

Are we just what's happening with us? And I remember he's I don't know. He's I just feel off. And I said to him, I was like, all right, I'm in this no matter what, so let's figure it out. We got our answer. About a month later, he had a vicious headache. And actually his mother said he needs to go to the.

So I took him to the E.R. And that's when they found a pretty big tumor in his brain. Which then we were joking. We're like, oh, that's why he was off . That's why we weren't ourselves. That's, cuz they removed that tumor and it really was, some people say he wasn't quite back, but there was so much of him that came back when the tumor was out and it was oh, alright, this is why.

[00:05:51] Emily Jones: Yeah. So take us maybe to that moment when they come back to you and say, oh, he has a brain tumor. Were Did you just feel like you were in shock? Was it, that must have been so hard to wrap your mind around is this really happening? Cause how old were you guys at the time?

[00:06:13] Elaine Roth: I was, so he was diagnosed in thousand 16.

So I was 33 I think maybe, I don't remember exactly how old I was 33 and I think he was 38 off a year or two a year in either direction on that one. But that's not a huge lie. It's not true.

[00:06:35] Emily Jones: Sure.

[00:06:35] Elaine Roth: I remember so. So we had a very long cancer journey, but at that point, I remember when the doctor pulled after his surgery and the doctor pulled me aside and was like, all right, here's the situation.

I remember just being like, I remember stepping outside afterwards, going to get some air, and I remember sitting in front of the hospital being like, how is the world. Moving. Like how are these people just walking around their lives? Don't they understand? Everything should have just stopped.

Like the world has just ended. Why are they acting like it's normal? And I remember just feeling, this is bizarre. The doctor had also at that point said something, I think, I mean he knew that it was a terminal cancer, but I think you also knew that you could have some quality of life while you're going through treatment.

Something in my brain, and I think it's the only way that Matt and I knew how to now process what we were gonna go, like the fight we were gonna have was to focus on this 1% chance, like we could do this. So what we ended up doing, we went through the traditional treatments when the tumor came back after the traditional treatments.

I remember when the doctor said that I remember half my vision went gray, the whole left side. I just could not see anymore. And. That was the blow that I was like, oh, I thought we were just gonna beat this thing. I know people don't, but I thought we would.

And at that point then we actually went to it was the news a while ago.

There was something called the I forget the exact name of it, but basically doctors are using the poliovirus to treat brain cancer. Somehow they're genetically modifying it. It cured the first two patients. Yeah. So we got into that trial and we were like, oh, great, we're gonna be cured. We're doing this thing.

Go on about our lives now. So I think we always found this reason to hope, and then when that failed, we found another reason to hope so, which was a gift because, we never live like we don't having enough time to do something and a little bit of a curse because, we ended up not talking about things that we needed to talk about.

We never ended up, talking about, I don't know if he was scared how he felt by the time that we needed to have those conversations. The brain tumor had taken so much of him that he wasn't capable of it. I never asked him to write letters for the kids.

In my mind, I was like, why should he have to? He's gonna be fine. And he needed to know, he is gonna be fine. I didn't wanna, put that energy out into the universe of he's not gonna be fine.

[00:09:03] Emily Jones: It was almost like you would have to accept the possibility that he wouldn't be there if you were to say we need to start preparing just in case.

It was almost, was it almost maybe that means I'm saying, yeah, there's a good likelihood this is, he's not gonna make it through this.

[00:09:22] Elaine Roth: Yeah.

Yeah. And I don't know, that kind of felt you can't, will someone's health or someone's illness, obviously. But some part of me just kept thinking, if I even say this out loud, I'm gonna make it happen as if I've got much power.

But I don't know, I just, I was like, what he needs is just, and I think it was what he also, how he wanted to approach it too.

[00:09:46] Emily Jones: Yeah. And I think that's really powerful for people to understand because a lot of times I think we look at people who've been grieving, someone that's terminally ill, and we think they had all this time.

They knew three years ago, two years ago, however long, six months ago, that this was probably gonna happen. But that's almost like saying that all of us know that's gonna happen, right? Like statistically, we know, right? Women tend to outlive men and that's gonna happen at some point.

But, and in your experience, you may not have had much time, if any time at all, to truly accept and grasp within yourself oh, this is happening. He is going to be gone. So I think it's really good that you made that distinction to help people understand that better.

[00:10:33] Elaine Roth: Yeah. And there was there was a doctor at Columbia, we ended up at Columbia, who said, there's gonna become a point.

You aren't gonna be able to have these conversations and it's, you're not gonna know when it comes. And she was encouraging us to have it now, but we couldn't. So there is people handle it differently though, so it all depends. Some people need to say, all right, I got this diagnosis.

I need to write these letters now just in case I need to have my ducks and they just need to approach it in a different.

[00:11:02] Emily Jones: Yeah.

And I guess if we were all wise, we probably would do those things routinely anyway because none of us know it could be today or tomorrow that we aren't here anymore.

But to your point, it's almost like we don't, culturally, I think here, we don't like to think about death. We don't like to think about grief. We just wanna shove it off to the side and not have to face it until we're blindsided by it. That's a really good point. So you were holding onto this faith and hope oh, we're gonna make it, we're gonna make it.

And then at what point did you realize he's not gonna make it anymore? Or the tumor has taken over and he's not the same person that he can't even really function. I don't know if he even understands me. Those types of things.

[00:11:50] Elaine Roth: I think it's a tough question because it requires me to be very honest with myself,

I think there was a point probably about a year into his treatment when things were going, when it was, we were still had hope that things were difficult. And I remember I was doing something with the kids and I had this moment. Oh, he might not. I was taking him to look at camps or I was looking at a camp and I remember thinking, oh my God, he might not be here for this.

And I remember instantly that feeling of, oh, that was awful, that I thought that was the worst betrayal. But some part of me was like, oh no, things are so bad that, how are we recovering?

I think I didn't quite let myself admit it without feeling like it was a betrayal until, honestly, until the doctor called me with the final MRI on January 23rd and she said, we have weeks. And then I was oh, now no one has hope anymore. No one's giving it. There's nowhere to look for it right now.

[00:12:52] Emily Jones: And what I mean, It's so hard to imagine getting that phone call, especially you not been in that situation or it was a little different. But what, how then maybe did your perspective change or what kind of went through your mind when you realized, okay, we've made a turning point here? There's no going back.

We're down the last few weeks,

[00:13:17] Elaine Roth: To be honest, I think I almost, it was almost like a shutdown. It was, I don't even know. I remember after I walked into my house, so actually I got the phone call and I was on the way to pick up my son from a play date. So I remember I pulled over in a parking lot, took the phone call, texted his mom like, oh, I'm so sorry.

I'm gonna pick up my son late. And then afterward I had to like compose myself and go pick up my son, cuz now I had to figure out how to tell them how to tell both kids. You know that now we're no longer in daddy's sick, but the doctors are working on it. Now we're in, daddy's not gonna get better.

We need to start thinking about this. And so I think to get through it, I think I just, I just needed to put up a wall around all of it and just go into mom mode, caretaker mode, mode, keep breathing mode, and I think I was in that for a very long time.

[00:14:17] Emily Jones: And how old were your how old were your kids about that point?

[00:14:20] Elaine Roth: They were six and eight.

[00:14:23] Emily Jones: So old enough to understand, but still very young. Really?

[00:14:29] Elaine Roth: Yeah. Still very young. And, Matt got sick in 2016. My son was forced still at that point, so I sometimes think about it that he. By the time his memory is formed, he doesn't have that many, he doesn't have that many memories of his dad.

He has what kinda given him or what his sister has given him, or what our family has given him. But he doesn't have that much on his own, so that's also important too. What he knows is what he knows. Only illness and after.

[00:14:53] Emily Jones: So did you decide to tell your kids early on when you learned you had a few weeks left, or did you feel like you wanted to wait until it was closer to time, or maybe that you needed some time to figure out next steps and what you were gonna do?

How did that work out?

[00:15:10] Elaine Roth: Matt, the last time he was in the house was January 15th. I took him to Columbia and he was in the hospital, so that was the last time he saw the kids. And the kids knew he was sick and that the doctors were helping him. After I got that phone call we, I coordinated with the doctors and the kids therapist, and we decided to do inpatient hospice.

So at that, I told, so I came home and I told the kids cause I wanted them to be able to now spend some time with Matt again cuz they hadn't been going to Columbia, they hadn't seen him in the hospital. The tragedy of it all is we found out the news, filled out the paperwork for hospice, and the kids were gonna see him the next day.

That night he fell into a, I don't know if it's technically a coma, but into this. Unconscious state where he never woke up in hospice. So the kids we'd visit every day, but, and I'm sure he heard their voices, but they never had that. They didn't see him awake, which is maybe better cuz he wasn't himself anymore.

So they don't have memories of him like that. That's another part of, so they knew right away they went to the hospice. To answer your question,

And they knew then. Yeah. And that had to be so hard to feel like, he didn't get to say, that last goodbye, or, I love you, or, that moment.

[00:16:35] Emily Jones: I know for my kids that was really difficult too, not feeling like they had almost that closure of saying goodbye. I imagine that had to be really difficult for

you.

[00:16:47] Elaine Roth: It was, again, it was because they wanted it so much. At that point, he'd had, there was, there were three tumors. He had a tumor down his whole spinal cord.

He was in a lot of pain. Last time I saw him awake, he wasn't quite himself. I don't know. He wasn't himself. So I don't know what if he would've been able to give the kids a goodbye at that point. Which is kind. Terrible in itself. So I don't know. I don't know if it it worked out in a way that protected them, like they didn't get the goodbye, but they also didn't need to see, they didn't have to see the worst parts of it.

Also so then,

[00:17:27] Emily Jones: Yeah so then as he is there in hospice and then he's slipped into this state where he can't communicate and it's not really clear if he's conscious or aware of what's happening. About how long was it before he finally passed?

[00:17:42] Elaine Roth: Nine days.

[00:17:45] Emily Jones: So those were probably very grueling, just soul- crushing days. I would imagine.

[00:17:53] Elaine Roth: Yeah. It's , it's basically pretty terrible to sit at someone's bedside waiting for this moment. We had a lot of family come through and would sit with us. Old friends came, so I don't, Matt never woke up for it, but I hope, I keep thinking like, I hope that he heard.

We told about him, the room that we were in had got so much light. They put us in the hospice, put us in the very back of the hallway. Cause they're, the minute they saw us and they saw a young family, they're like, oh, take all this space. The kids are gonna need it. So it was very awful.

But then they were moments that I think were from, it meant a lot that a lot, so many people showed up for Matt.

[00:18:37] Emily Jones: Yeah, that's great. So then tell us, after he, you, you lost him and he was gone. And a lot of people say they go just, you're floating through life, like you're just going through the motions, getting the arrangements made, handling all of those things.

And then they enter this phase over the first weeks and months of just. From a functioning perspective, you're only able to take care of what has to be done or you're this crisis management type of phase. What was that like for you?

[00:19:11] Elaine Roth: It's so hard. I don't even remember so much of that.

So yeah, I think it was just do the very basics to survive. There was the first day that the kids went back to school. I remember I just had a pile of mail that I hadn't touched in weeks at that point. Dry cleaning to pick up, laundry to do. And I remember just driving after I dropped the kids off to school, driving back to the house and was like, this is what people feel like after they've, I don't know, so I hope it's not insensitive to say, but I was like, this must be how people feel after they've lost a war and now they just have to live in the wreckage of this war zone.

Cause that's how it felt. I was like, everywhere I look, I just saw devastate, like just devastation. And I was like, now I just have to pick up pieces and try to figure it out. I, there was also another point where I was again driving, I guess I was doing a lot of driving then and this, and I was thinking about Matt and thinking about something in a piece of ice, flew off a truck and hit into the wind.

And I called my friend and I said, Matt must be so mad at how I'm handling this. And my friend said, probably one of the smartest things anyone has ever said to me. She said, if anything, he's mad that you're beating yourself up so much about all of this. She said, if anything, he wants you to wake up and pay attention.

And I was like, oh, you're right. That is more what Matt would do. He would never be mad at me. He would say, Like you got this now, but do it. ,

[00:20:35] Emily Jones: Yes. And it is crazy how we either we put a lot of pressure on ourselves or we tend to think maybe our loved ones are just being so judgmental about how we're handling things, how we're reacting.

Are we being too sad or being sad enough? Are we, making them proud? Are we, what is it they think of us? And I think that's one of the things that's so hard about grief is that you just wanna have one more conversation. Like you just wanna be able to say, What do you think? How do you feel?

Am I doing a good job? And you can't until we see them again. You can't. And that's really difficult. Did you notice that after this happened that your family or his family, or maybe your friends even started to treat you differently? Maybe they didn't include you as much or they included you more.

Did you notice any shifts with kind of your social circle ?

[00:21:31] Elaine Roth: Absolutely. Which is so interesting. I think at first there's a flood. People come out of the woodwork and coming from a really good intention place of, oh, we wanna help you, we wanna be there for you. And then it fades away a little bit and I still haven't quite figured out how it happens or why I think people get busy in their own life and don't quite realize that the time when grief hits is actually in the first moment of quiet.

When the kind of that energy fades away and it's oh, now I'm here by myself and I have to figure this out. I didn't notice it so much with family. I have been, I will, I write about this all the time that I've been very lucky with my family and Matt's family. So I always feel like I have that support.

But I think for friendships, it, I think it's hard for people to Be reminded of this, oh, this could happen to you. They look at me and they're I did nothing wrong technically, but this horrible thing happened. And a reminder of, oh, it could happen to you too.

I sometimes think just the fact of being a solo parent, sometimes my relationships end up feeling a little lopsided. And then I think that gets to be difficult for people, so they pull away. Yeah.

[00:22:49] Emily Jones: You mean how... I think a lot of events and things that we do are really designed for couples.

Yeah. Or, for you to have some sort of plus one. And so it is just like that constant reminder when you have the empty chair next to you or you get put with, all the other singles, , and it's just, it just takes time to get used to. So were you someone who was good at accepting help or telling people what you needed to do?

Or did you tend to tell people like, no, I've got it. I'm fine. I don't need any help.

[00:23:19] Elaine Roth: I would say I am. If it's a competition, I would win the competition of I don't need help. I got it. to a fault. That is not, I hope I teach my kids better than that and I hope they do learn to ask for help cuz it is so hard for me to say, oh yes, I do need somebody to do this thing for.

[00:23:43] Emily Jones: Yeah. And I don't know why that is, that we are so quick to say, Nope, I got it. I'm fine. I don't need any help. And really you just feel like you're drowning. And like you said, the mail's piled up, the laundry is piled up. You're, dreading cooking, every evening or whatever that looks like.

And yet, people genuinely want to help. That's one of the things that I'd really like to bridge the gap on, is people wanna help. It makes 'em feel good to be able to help and people want help. So how do we , bring that together to say, This is truly how you can help someone who's widowed.

And if you're widowed, here's how you can accept help without feeling bad or, making it a negative thing.

[00:24:26] Elaine Roth: Yeah.

Without feeling like you're, without, without feeling like you're incapable. Oh. And the thing is that when somebody asks me for help, I'm delighted to help. It makes me so happy to now give somebody else help.

So I constantly try to remind myself that asking for help is really something. It's it's almost not a kindness, but it is like the kindness exchange of energy that people are happy to do it. It makes them feel good.

[00:24:53] Emily Jones: Yeah, absolutely it does. And I'm the same way. It just, it makes me feel good to know that I've positively impacted someone else and that I've made a difference and maybe made somebody's burden a little lighter.

One thing a lot of people like to know is as you've moved through your journey of grief and towards healing people tend to think oh, what point do you move on? Or what point does it not feel? What point are you not grieving anymore? And I think the general consensus is there's no switch to flip that says, oh I never have sad moments, or I never have outbursts, or, ways that I'm handling grief.

But I do like to encourage people that those first few weeks and months, you just, you feel like you're drowning, you're overwhelmed. You're in this almost zombie-like state of going through the motions or just drifting through life, however you wanna describe it.

So that doesn't have to last forever. Now, some people sit in it for years and they don't wanna let go, but what was your personal experience with, at what point did you start to feel. Okay, my life's not gonna be like this forever? Or that you were able to have some sort of hope or joy again for the future?

[00:26:13] Elaine Roth: That's a great question, and I don't even know if I've ever put a date on it or an event on it. It was definitely after the first year. I don't, couldn't quite tell you exactly when. I remember that when the first year hit, my first thought was, oh, I have to do this again. It's not dumb . It might be fun enough.

It actually, it might be when I got my first article published. Actually writing had always been something that I wanted to do. Matt was my biggest cheerleader about it, but I never taken the step to submit somewhere or to really get my work. in any sort of like public space where people, strangers would look at it.

And I think I got my first piece published on Modern Loss and I think that was the first time that I realized, oh, I could build something that I love and I would, and I remember the grief wave when I that got published and that wasn't there to share that moment with me was awful. But it was also, the contradictory moment of, but I could do this.

I could, I love this. I could make this still happen. So it might have been that moment, actually, which act, which in that case was probably about 18 months after.

[00:27:29] Emily Jones: So when you tell us what your first article was about, if you remember, and maybe what inspired you to write it, whether it was just therapeutic and you wanted to just throw it out there or you, what was going through your mind at that point?

[00:27:44] Elaine Roth: My, I started writing about a month after Matt died. I'd always been a writer, but I started writing our story about a month after Matt died. I had this, a blog called Reconstructing A Year in Hope, and it was essentially every day of our battle with brain cancer from diagnosis through the day he died.

Cause I remember it like our story was just so huge. Neither of us really had talked about. And I wanted people to know, so I started writing just to get the, just to get it out of me. And all of a sudden this blog started to have a following and people would message me, just strangers were reading it.

So after that blog finished, I think that was the moment that I was like, oh, I wanna share more of the story that seems to be, people wanna know that their situation. People who are were caretakers, who had a husband who died, or a wife who died. They wanna not feel so alone.

So the first piece that I wrote for Modern Loss was actually about how we had so much hope that we never had the conversations that we needed to have, that I spent the first year looking for a note that he wrote that got hidden or some message in his email or something that, to let me know what do I do now and how I had to find that message for.

[00:29:01] Emily Jones: Oh, that's a beautiful way to put that. How people wanna, people are gonna wanna know how did you find the message for yourself? Or what do you think that message was? Cause I know a lot of people have done the same, right? We've scrolled through the phone, we look through the email, we look under the bed please let them have given me something to know how they would want me to move forward.

So how did you find that for yourself?

[00:29:25] Elaine Roth: I found it in as I was working, as I was we moved around that 18 month mark too. So as I was packing up Matt's things, deciding what I wanted to see, what I wanted the kids to have and what to donate, I found that message in the paperwork that he had left and the way that he organized his life around me and the kids and oh, this is the vision he wanted for us.

And in random birthday cards that he had signed over, that I'd read a million times, but now took on new meaning of, oh, this is how much he loved me and this amount of love would want this kind of life for me.

So I think it was just I was just it was in, it was already a message that Matt had given me a million times over our relationship, but I just pulled out what I needed.

It was even in, as I was going through emails, just times that I would get a rejection for some writing thing, separate kind of writing. And he would be like, no, I know you got this. And he'd say, I can just hire someone. I'll just hire someone and get you a No, that doesn't count, but just, it seems like it's gonna happen.

Your dream is gonna happen and I will, bribe someone to make it happen if you need it to .

[00:30:36] Emily Jones: Oh, and that had to be the most bittersweet moment where you were like, we did it. I did it. We're finally there. I finally got to accomplish my dream. And you've been published in many places, not just the one.

So you've been a continued success. Yeah. And you wanna share about what you're working on currently and maybe what's coming out in the future?

[00:31:00] Elaine Roth: Sure.

I actually am gonna share a little bit of, that I, it might be a little woo, and I'm sorry if it is, but I do feel Matt's energy frequently, and I it's comforting to me.

I don't know. But I remember I read this book about getting signs from the people you love and. The books had suggested, it was by Laura Lynn Jackson, if anyone's curious. And the book suggested doing this meditation and asking your person for a sign, and it said, don't ask for something easy.

Don't ask for a butterfly. We see butterflies all the time. Don't ask for, so I remember I said, okay, Matt, I want a lion. Send me a lion to show me that you're still helping me out, that you're still on my team on these kinds of things. A few months later, I started submitting a new book that I had written.

It was not actually the book that I wanna talk about, but it was a, and I submitted it to a few agents. One agent came back to me, said she loved it, and wanted to represent me to get the book published. That agent's last name is Lionetti, L I o n. I was like,

[00:32:01] Emily Jones: That's amazing.

[00:32:04] Elaine Roth: So ultimately that book got shelved. But now I have, I worked on a new one about a young widow who is looking, she's looking for, a message that resonates this. She's looking for what do I do next? How do I build a life? How do I not. How do I have the courage to not just stay in this small space that I know is safe, and how do I do something that feels scary?

And one of the symbols in that book is actually a bluebird. And the day that I submitted it, it was February, New Jersey, super cold snow on the ground, misery. A Bluebird lands on the branch in front of my window as I press submit. And I was like, you cannot make this up. .

[00:32:47] Emily Jones: Wow! That's amazing.

[00:32:50] Elaine Roth: Yeah, so that book actually was recently, it got a publishing deal, so it's going to be out in November 20, 23.

[00:32:59] Emily Jones: Oh, congratulations. Oh, I'm so excited for you.

[00:33:04] Elaine Roth: Thank you. It is so exciting. It's 10 years. Kind of work. It's 10 years. I'm so excited to show my kids this. When you're committed to a dream and you just keep trying, you get rejections, you try again, you take a class, you work to get better, you figure out why you got the rejection and try to learn from it.

I'm so excited, that I could say, and that was a part of it. And some part of me is very sure that he's still trying to bribe someone somewhere to make it happen. .

[00:33:36] Emily Jones: I'm sure he is. Most definitely. But you know what? I'm sure he didn't have to because I'm sure that the work that you've done is amazing and that you're gonna have a very successful future in this pursuit.

And I'm so proud of you because so many people just give up or they feel like the first few times that they get rejected or told no that, oh, maybe that's not for me. Maybe I should just quit and give up. And that's very common in the writing space. You've probably received a lot of rejections over the years, so what would you say to people is like the one thing that encouraged you to keep going?

Because even as I think about the book that ended up getting shelved, your excitement must have been like way up here. And then it's oh, that one's not gonna move forward. So am I supposed to do this or not? But what has been a key motivator for you to keep going?

[00:34:36] Elaine Roth: Great question. My initial answer is that I'm just really stubborn that I made this commitment to myself when I was a kid, that I'm gonna get a book published. And I just said, okay, this is what I decided to do, so I now I have to do it.

[00:34:54] Emily Jones: I love that so much, and I laugh because I try to explain to people all the time, stubborn and being stubborn and being persistent are very similar traits and , the way that we interpret what's happening is just whether or not we see it as being positive or negative.

So that, that definitely made me chuckle ,

[00:35:17] Elaine Roth: But maybe she's persistent versus stubborn, though That's a nicer word.

[00:35:20] Emily Jones: I like it. You like dug your heels in. You are not giving up like you are going to see this through, which is so exciting.

Elaine, anything, is there anything else that you would like to share with our listeners? Maybe anything, one thing you'd want them to take away from our conversation or that you feel like was really helpful in your healing journey? Anything that comes to mind?

[00:35:46] Elaine Roth: I think what comes to my most is.

I think there's no right way. There's no thing that you should be doing. For a very long time, I was stuck. I probably, for the first 18 months, stuck in this place of I should be doing this. This is what I was doing before Matt died and I should still continue doing this cause this is what I was doing.

I think giving yourself permission to just be what you need to be. Obviously, be there for your children if you have, be there for the people who depend on you. , but let it give yourself permission to take a step back and figure it out and figure out what is resonating with you. What is, what feels right to you.

Cause it might not be necessarily what it was before. I think people don't quite understand how much that death changes you. And I think it's allowed to, and I think accepting it. Okay, I am different and maybe I miss the old me, but I can make this new me awesome too.

Hopefully or try to work to.

[00:36:46] Emily Jones: Yeah, that's such a great point.

I used to, I told people often in the first few months I'm not the same person. I'm not the same person. And I think people have a really difficult time understanding like of course you're the same person. What does that mean? To your point, it does change things about you. It is a traumatic event.

It is. It does change a lot about your identity and how you view the world and what your new interests and hobbies and things are gonna be. And for a while that made me really sad, right? Because in my mind that meant, oh, I'm a different person and it's changed me and that just means something worse.

But then I thought about it like, I lost someone that meant that much to me and it didn't change at least a part of who I am or didn't have that much of an impact on me. That would be sadder than the fact of I'm evolving and becoming something different and maybe better and, stronger or wiser in how I do things.

It definitely has, I improved or increased the amount. Gratitude I have for things and the moments that we savor and the interactions we have with people. So I do think that's really something important that you called out. And of course, the expectations we put on ourselves and other people when we're in those grieving moments and especially in the early days, we're so focused on ourself and trying to get through that.

So give yourself grace and patience and as my dad told me, you just have to take each day and only do that day what has to be done that day. Don't worry about the future, don't. Reflect too much on the past. Just focus on today.

Thank you so much for joining us, Elaine. And I know people are gonna love hearing your story, and I think that you're going to touch and impact a lot of people that have been in a similar situation as you. So thanks for being brave enough to be open and willing to share it.

[00:38:47] Elaine Roth: Thank you so much.

This is fun.

Wow. What an amazing and inspiring

[00:38:53] Emily Jones: story that Elaine shared with us today. I am so proud of her. To go from a feeling of hope and we can do this and things are gonna be great to just the ultimate devastation and the grieving that must have happened with her young children and thinking about.

What is her life gonna look like now and how can anything good come from the bad and the tragedy of what's happened? And she's just such a beautiful illustration of how good things can come out of bad things, and you can find hope and dream again for the future. She's doing it. She's chasing her dreams. She's seeing them come to reality and come to fruition, and the journey has not been easy for her.

She's been rejected by publishers or had projects that were halted, but she just kept chasing that hope and dream, even though she wasn't sure exactly what it was gonna look like. And that's one of the core things with Brave Widow, I really wanna encourage people to do is even when you don't know what life can look like or what hobbies you might wanna pursue, or how it's even possible to find hope and joy again for the future.

It is possible, and sometimes it just takes that first little baby step of acknowledging that you believe it's possible and you want to move in that direction for you to be able to see a change.

If you wanna learn how to hope and dream for the future again, and even start thinking about what that looks like, putting a plan together, sharing and connecting with others, then join us over at the Brave Widow Community. We would love to have you as part of our membership community and have a, a place where you can share your hopes and dreams with other young widows and you can support them and encourage them on their journey for theirs.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey? Organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions?

The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need. Inside, you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible.

Head on over to bravewidow.com to learn more.

 

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