Available on Amazon in print and Kindle versions and at Diane Pearl Colecciones and Sol Mexicana in Ajijc, MX
Reviews of Prairie Moths:
Just as moths rise from prairie grasses to fly away, so did the author yearn to be free from the very place that nurtured her. Judy Dykstra-Brown’s verse stories and accompanying photographs give a vivid portrayal of rural life in the fifties and sixties, evoking the colors and sounds of the prairie and the longing a child with an active imagination feels for faraway places. From a small child curled up on the couch listening to her father’s stories of homestead days to pubescent fantasies of young itinerant combiners to her first forays into romance in the front seat of a ’59 Chevy, her memories acquire a value in time that she did not acknowledge while living them. Lovers of good poetry and those who miss the magic of childhood will relish Prairie Moths.—Harriet Hart, for the Ojo Del Lago Book Review
A lengthy review —Colleen Chesebro for Lit World Interviews
Now available on Amazon, in print and Kindle versions and in Bookstores, including Diane Pearl Colecciones, La Bella Vida, Jose Melendrez and Mi Mexico in Ajijic, MX.
Lessons from a Grief Diary: Rebuilding Your Life
after the Death of a Loved One
Judy Dykstra-Brown and Anthony Moriarty, Ph.D.
A widow’s grief diary chronicling the illness and death of her husband as well as the process of her recovery from grief over the next eight years is analyzed in alternating chapters by a psychologist. Includes methods of overcoming grief, suggested further reading and ending notes that summarize main points of the book.
When Judy let her husband Bob persuade her to buy a house in Mexico, little did she know that five months later, she would be moving into that house alone. Her diary takes us along through their initial adventures in Mexico, their return to California to sell off the contents of their home, her nursing Bob through his final illness and death and her move to Mexico. For eight years, she chronicles the triple challenge of dealing with the loss of her husband, learning to adjust to the culture of a foreign country where she knew no one and finding ways to find the positive in the most negative situations. Making use of his extensive research in the field of grief as well as experience gained through years of counseling others going through the grief process, Tony’s insightful comments on Judy’s thoughts and actions will serve as a guide for any reader suffering from the death of a family member or other loved one.
Readers’ Reviews and Comments
Having the courage to speak with unembellished honesty, Judy Dykstra-Brown begins by describing the move she and her husband Bob are planning to make to a more relaxed life in Mexico. As the van is being packed and plans finalized, Judy learns her husband is dying. In beautiful prose and poetry, she chronicles her grueling role of caretaker to Bob, their last days together and the death and rituals that follow. Knowing she will be leaving behind all of her support systems, Judy relocates to Mexico alone, sharing her intensely personal journey of grief, growth and finally the excitement of moving towards a different and full life. Uniquely, Anthony Moriarty follows each chapter with a psychological and/or mystical interpretation of the behaviors that accompany Bob’s processes of dying and Judy’s struggles with the loss of her husband. This is a must read for anyone who has experienced loss.—Romaine Presnell, Clinical Social Worker, mental health therapist at John Hopkins and in private practice, Supervisor of Counseling Services as Associated Catholic Charities and group facilitator for The Wellness Community, providing free services for cancer patients and their families.
This book combines the personal account of a woman whose husband has unexpectedly become ill and died with the commentary of an experienced clinical psychologist. The story is compelling, the theme universal, and the dual viewpoints of the authors give us unique and valuable insight into the experience of loss, grief and life beyond.—Amelia Stevens, M.D., Psychiatrist
After suddenly losing my partner of 8 years, the combination of emotions that battered me day-to-day left me lost with no idea of how to find my way back to a relatively normal life. I ordered and read a number of the best-selling books on the subject of grief, but felt none of them applied to me until I discovered this brave and startling book. The combination of Judy’s honest personal journey and Tony’s objective observations make this a very important book with which I was able to easily identify. Had I read it earlier, I seriously think my journey would have been shorter and less debilitating.—Linda Richards, Artist
With the hundreds of books available to help people navigate their way through the grief process, it is a rare find to discover one that approaches it from a whole new perspective. Lessons from a Grief Diary presents material from what I call Wise Mind, with an alternating blend of raw emotional disclosure combined with intellectual analysis and commentary. We get to travel along with Judy as she copes with the unexpected illness and untimely death of her husband and goes on to build a whole new kind of life on her own. Through her ‘real-time’ journal, she reveals nuances of thoughts and emotions that are rarely spoken aloud. Tony’s intermingled commentary adds a perceptive depth of understanding, providing the reader valuable balance and insights into this complicated evolving process we call grief. Anyone seeking to better understand and explore their own experience of grief will find this book to be an optimistic and eminently relatable companion on their journey.—Joy Birnbach Dunstan, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor
Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I loved the way Judy dealt with the death of her husband as well as the way in which she expressed her feelings. So many things she did and felt were the same as my feelings and actions when I lost my husband. Her sense of humor, her sadness, her guts to push on will make you feel like you are her best friend. Getting Tony’s perspective also gives another window into Judy’s heart. If you have lost someone close to you, everything she says will make sense. If you have not yet lost someone close to you, it will prepare you for when it happens.—Audrey Zikmund, Widow for Two Years
Bereavement is a solitary, uphill climb. I watched my mother make the journey and to my child’s eyes, it took forever. Lessons from a Grief Diary is a candid account of the grieving process. It’s as if author Judy Dykstra-Brown is leading the bereaved individual into Dr. Tony Moriarty’s office where the three explore this complex emotional transitional state. I recommend this book to those who have suffered a loss, their families and friends, and to any of the professionals they turn to for help. Reading this book would have helped my mother and me.—Harriet Hart, Social Worker and Past Director of Rehabilitation, Manitoba Paraplegic Association
This book is a great trail guide for exploring the pathway through grief. We get to move between the powerful, surprising ways grief grabs us and the insights and understandings that give us something to hold on to as we pick our way through the boulders.—Georgia King, County Mental Health Counselor
Reading Lessons from a Grief Diary is the surest way to go from grief to joy.—Gloria Palazzo, Writer, Artist and Widow
“The reading of this book took me to a place where no other book has ever taken me and gave me a new appreciation of lakeside as a magical healing place. Thank you for that. It’s a big revelation for me—and a big step in accepting this place that I have always before thought of as just a place I was passing through. I actually read it in two nights—pretty fast for me. It was a privilege to experience this book.”––Candace Spence, Lake Chapala Resident
After earning her Masters in Creative Writing and Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wyoming, Judy Dykstra-Brown taught English and writing for ten years in Australia, Ethiopia and Wyoming before moving to California to study film production and to work for a television production company. She studied writing at UCLA and in the Jack Grapes workshop, where she met her husband Bob, a poet and sculptor. After marrying, they moved to Northern California and exhibited their individual and collaborative work at galleries and art and crafts shows nationwide for thirteen years. She was curator of the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center for three and a half years. After Bob’s death in 2001, she moved to Mexico, where she has continued to publish her work in English language print and online magazines, to read and speak for various lecture series and performance groups and to exhibit her retablos and mixed media sculptures at local galleries. This is her third book.
Tony Moriarty holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a Licensed Clinical Psychologist since 1978, working both in private practice and community mental health, where his clinical specialties include grief management. As a police psychologist, he was involved in the post-incident counseling of officers whose use of force in the line of duty had resulted in a death or serious injury. He recently retired as the Principal of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Illinois, where he developed a number of programs involving non-punitive methods of managing student behavior as well as two high school police resource officer programs. He has published more than thirty articles in the professional literature and is the author of three books prior to this one.