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My fingers are itching to return to writing about various themes of widowhood—grief, relationships, faith, learning to live life as a single, aging and reclaiming joy day by day. Ironically, though, the demands of publishing and marketing Reclaiming Joy require more time than I have hours in my day.

I have more to write about than ever because of the feedback from those who read my memoir, as well as from the writers and talk show hosts who interviewed me. I have barely scratched the surface of the different paths taken, the different problems faced in women’s journey through grief. Meanwhile, like all authors today, I am expected to be deeply involved in promoting and marketing my book on social media. So bear with me…

My calendar of public appearances appears to be less crowded now, but I do not post invitational events publicly. In between the big, public events are a half-dozen programs I am presenting to clubs of all kind. Since I have a message of encouragement and hope, I enjoy sharing with even the smallest groups. I don’t expect an honorarium; and if the location is a day trip from Corpus Christi or the Metroplex, I don’t need reimbursement for travel expenses.

Timeless, Universal Life Lessons

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians—from which I derived the inspiration, outline and title for Reclaiming Joy—was not written for those who grieve. It was written for a poor, discouraged, divided congregation; and its life lessons are timeless and universal. Its message of grace, peace and joy has comforted me in times of discouragement and depression throughout my life.

I have never spoken to a group composed exclusively of widows. We all have times when life seems to lose its joy and we struggle to extricate ourselves from the pity party. That is Paul’s message, and that is what I speak and write about.

Since Lev died, I have found autumn the most depressing time of the year. The days grow shorter, and the very thought of the Holidays without him panics me. I feel the dark emptiness in my house—long, empty evenings; the empty chair at the Thanksgiving and Christmas table; and until I learned to compensate, the empty calendar when everyone else seemed to be going to festive holiday parties.

Dreading the Holidays?

Many of us, not only the widowed, face the Holidays without anticipation. It may be that you have moved away from family and friends. Perhaps everyone can’t come this year—the children have moved away or they are celebrating with the in-laws; you’ve recently divorced; parents’ health issues keep them at home; or there’s estrangement within the family that leads to separation. Financial or health setbacks may keep you from observing the Holidays as you have in the past. Whenever there is significant loss of any kind, we grieve. I have learned through trial and error—and nine years experience—to be very intentional and proactive in planning the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I share that in my book, my blogs and the program I present—“Hope for the Holidays.”

And what if we plod through, and then in January we look back and long to make the coming year better? “Resolved: To Reclaim Joy in 2019” will be the theme at my January events, from large church groups in the Metroplex to a local study club.

With the book launch behind me and the structured media publicity effort ending soon, I look forward to speaking around the state after the first of the year: libraries, book and study groups, church groups. Visit my Contact page for more information about scheduling a program.

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  • Beginning with the blog “Hope for the Holidays” last October, I wrote three series of blogs on approaching the Holidays, Advent and New Year’s Resolutions, which you can scroll through, beginning here.
  • I first wrote about Coping With the Empty Chair as I approached the Holidays in 2015.

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Book News
Upcoming Events:

October 21, 2018 – Guest of Msgr. Ron Lengwin, host of Amplify, KDKA-AM CBS, 8–10 p.m., CDT, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Listen Live Here

October 23, 2018 – Guest on the Georgene Rice Show, KPDQ-AM & FM, 6:30–7 p.m., CDT, Portland, OR. Listen Live Here

November 3, 2018 – Book signing, 7 a.m.–?, Baylor Bookstore, Waco, Texas.

January 10, 2019 – “Resolved: To Reclaim Joy in 2019,” Deja Vu Crew, 9:45 a.m., First Baptist Church Recreation Center, Corpus Christi, Texas.

January 13, 2019 – Wilshire Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas.

January 24, 2019 – Women of the Church, All Saints Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

In the Media:

October 12: “An exceptional, deftly written, impressively informative, and thoroughly ‘user friendly’ practical in organization and presentation, “Reclaiming Joy: A Primer for Widows” should be brought to the attention of any newly widowed woman and ought to be a part of every community library collection dealing with the sensitive subject of Death & Dying.” Helen Dumont, Midwest Book Review. Read full review

October 9: “Communication is everything [in holding the family together]. along with transparency, openness and honesty. This is where advisors can help.”   Ella’s interview with Adrienne M. Penta, “Reclaiming Joy with Ella Wall Prichard,” Women & Wealth Magazine. Read the full interview

October 7: Ella talks about Reclaiming Joy—the despair of early grief, her spiritual journey from grief and the joy she found on Nantucket—with Scott Widmeyer of Cross Current on WNCK, Nantucket’s NPR station. Listen to full interview

October 4: “I wanted my life to be more than merely keeping on keeping on. I wanted a purpose in my life. I wanted to reclaim joy.” – Ella Wall Prichard, “How It’s Possible to Reclaim Joy (Even in the Grief of Widowhood),” Read full excerpt here

September 25: Ella talks about why she wrote Reclaiming Joy, the role of faith in her life and the black hole of aloneness, along with advice for those who are still half a couple, in a local NPR interview with Stuart Jacoby of KEDT. Listen to Full Interview

September 24: “Truly, it’s a challenge to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a challenge to put one foot in front of you. It’s a challenge to go to the cemetery and pick out a grave stone. Who wants to do that? All of that takes courage.” Norman James, Baptist News Gobal. Read Full Article

September 22: “Ella Prichard Talks Grief, Acceptance, and Her New Book.” Baylor Line Foundation. Watch the Video