STOCKTON — Paula Morhardt saw her life change overnight in 2017 when she unexpectedly lost her husband, LaVerne, one day and mother, Mary Baysinger, the next. Morhardt worked through her emotions the best way she knew how: writing about them.
“I had to get it out in words,” said Morhardt, a writer since childhood. “Writing has always been my way to speak, to get out what’s deep inside. I touch a part of me that’s hard to get out when I’m speaking.”
Now, almost exactly three years from the day she found her husband dead, Morhardt’s next book, Widow’s Tears of Sorrow, is available on Amazon. The book was released in early October but has been in the works since the day of her husband’s death, even if Morhardt herself didn’t realize it yet.
Widow’s Tears of Sorrow is a compilation of 45 poems written by Morhardt, spanning from the day of LaVerne’s death to the book’s completion three years later. The poems recount the mix of emotions that Morhardt experienced in the days, months and years following the deaths of her husband and mother.
It’s not puppy dogs and light and rainbows. It’s gritty, but for anybody who’s lost a spouse or parent, they’re going to understand them completely.Paula Morhardt
Forty-two of the poems have to do with LaVerne’s death, one for each year of their marriage. From the immediate confusion and sadness to anger and feelings of betrayal, Morhardt walks the reader through her own struggle of acceptance and moving forward. The remaining three poems are for her mother.
“It’s not puppy dogs and light and rainbows,” Morhardt said. “It’s gritty, but for anybody who’s lost a spouse or parent, they’re going to understand them completely.”
Other people being able to understand the poems is what moved Morhardt to publish her first book, Widow’s Walk, in the first place, she said.
Morhardt read some of her blog and journal posts to her sister, Penny Burns, who lives in Montana. Penny encouraged her to compile them into a book. Though she hadn’t planned on writing a book before, Morhardt went with the idea when a widow from Freeport commented on one of her Widow’s Walk blog posts saying how much they were helping with the aftermath of her own husband’s death. Widow’s Tears of Sorrow is a companion to Widow’s Walk.
In the immediate aftermath of the losses, Morhardt herself found peace and comfort in finding other people who had lived through similar situations. Finding others who were going through the same kind of loss helped her to cope.
“My whole world, it just stopped,” she said. “I could not understand how the rest of the world could keep going when, as far as I knew, it had stopped.”
Knowing that her words had the capability to help someone else understand that they aren’t alone, Morhardt knew that she had to get the entries published.
“If it will make one person understand that they are not alone, that’ll make the whole thing worthwhile,” she said.
In the upcoming months, Morhardt will also be releasing two new children’s books: Sweet Sour Cherries and Best Magic of All. Sweet Sour Cherries, a story about a good little bunny who sometimes does naughty things, is available for pre-order from Fox Pointe press. The books will be available on Amazon when they are released in January.