Smithfield author shares poetry to help others grieve

Smithfield author shares poetry to help others grieve

SMITHFIELD – Pamela Goodness worked through the grief of the death of her husband, Lee Goodness, through written word, resulting in her first published novel, “Walking Widowed: Reflections on Loss.”

The book is a collection of 32 poems illustrating her grieving process, which the Smithfield resident said she felt could help others cope with death.

She described the poetry as “free verse and from the heart.”

In the months that followed Lee’s death in March 2018, Goodness, 59, participated in many support groups offered through HopeHealth, ultimately finding solace in a poetry group.

The couple met when Goodness was 22 years old. They were together for 34 years and married 18 years. Goodness describes Lee, who was many years her senior, as a vibrant man who was full of life, but he had health issues catch up to him by his death at 90 years old.

With guidance from grief counselor Guy Murgo, Goodness learned to express her feelings through poetry, writing about the many different emotions she felt. She said her loss was compounded by the loss of her job as a librarian weeks after her husband’s death.

As a librarian, Goodness said her natural place is among books, and she felt the need to write something herself. For her, putting feelings down on paper was the best way to work through her emotions.

After a year and a half of writing, Goodness said she felt the work needed to be published both to help others grieve and to honor her husband’s life.

“I hope when other people read them they see themselves in them and what they’re going through and know they’re not alone,” Goodness said.

She found Pawtucket-based Stillwater River Publications and worked with the local company through the pandemic quarantine to publish her book.

“It’s very satisfying to do. I understand to some degree what people are going through with loss, and how painful it is,” she said.

Goodness said she hopes her book will allow others to better understand what they’re going through and learn that life gets better.

“I just started writing and it just started coming out,” she said.

Goodness continues to volunteer at HopeHealth in several ways, including a facilitator of loss-of-spouse support groups, making bereavement calls to recently bereaved families, and working at the group’s main desk on North Main Street in Providence.

“It keeps me busy. It gives me a focus in my life,” she said.

Goodness thanked the care staff at HopeHealth for bringing her out of her mourning. She said she hopes to inspire others who are grieving to take advantage of its support programs.

As she moves forward, Goodness said she will continue to write as she redefines herself in a new chapter of life. She’s currently writing about making new friends.

“I’d like to think that I could put some other book together at some point,” she said.

“Walking Widowed: Reflections on Loss” is available at Stillwater Books, 175 Main St. in Pawtucket, and at www.stillwaterbooksri.com .