Interview with Kathleen in Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle
“When Kathleen Fraser’s husband Jack collapsed in their Culver Road home in March of 2011, the couple had just spent a blissful time stretching Valentine’s Day into a month-long celebration. It had been Jack’s idea, and the Frasers couldn’t have been happier in each other’s company after almost 18 years of marriage.
But that afternoon, joy would give way to grief with a shocking swiftness. In her book Mourning and Milestones, Fraser writes that the sound of Jack’s fall sent her son Greg running to his stepfather’s aid. By the time the EMT unit had transported her husband to the emergency room, Fraser says she already knew it was too late.
“The way doctors deliver the news,” she says, “is exactly like what you see in the movies. They even use the same words they use on television.”
Mourning and Milestones details how, a mere two months after her husband’s death, Fraser was faced with a string of milestone dates: her wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, her late husband’s birthday and Father’s Day. Unsurprisingly, the feeling of loss pressed down on the family with an unbearable weight.
Fraser says she wrote the book that she’d wished had been available to her when she needed it. “It’s hard to find support for this,” she says, “and smaller cities throughout the country tend to lack for groups like the ones I attend and facilitate. I lucked out because I happened to know someone who pointed me in the right direction. So this really is a huge need.”
As a case in point, the demand for Fraser’s holiday-planning workshop earlier this year was brisk. Thirty people, she says, signed up as early as August.
For those relying just on her book, every few pages of Mourning and Milestonesoffer practical tips as sidebars. Among them: “Acknowledge that grief causes fatigue.” And: “Use the day as a day of service: visit a nursing home, serve meals at a food kitchen, or perform a service that held meaning for you both.” Or this gem: “On gift-giving holidays, frame a photo for each family member or attendee of that person with your loved one.”
“Maybe,” Fraser says, chuckling, “some people will just skip to the tips. Or flip to a specific holiday. I’m OK with that.”
Saby Reyes-Kulkarni is a Rochester freelance writer.
Read the full interview at the Democrat & Chronicle site Click here