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Caregiver from France Speaks Out


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Following the death of my husband, a black fog descended on me. He died in Ireland, having made a sudden, and in my view, bizarre decision to return there as his health worsened.

We exchanged life in southern France for a rainy Ireland, experiencing the worst recession in its history. We had happily sailed away from the island ten years earlier. Sailing back was only the beginning of eighteen months of absolute hell. Towards the heart-breaking end, my husband admitted his decision had been too hasty. In the months following his death, I simply endured.

Then, I returned to France and made three gallant attempts to resume my life there. But it proved impossible. Our idyllic life in the foothills of the Pyrenees was over forever. Being so close to the Spanish border, we regularly nipped over for a Tapas lunch or drove down to Barcelona for a weekend.

So many memories crowded in. I cried almost all the time I was there. Overwhelmed by despair, it seemed impossible to continue life without the person who had shared the adventure. I mentioned this to a resilient, 'can do' woman who has, over the years, given me some sound advice.

Pamela Stone, a Texas writer and generous soul, immediately offered to send me a copy of her book
 A Woman's Guide to Living Alone:10 Ways to Survive Grief and Be Happy. 

She deserves royalties. I bought it. It saved me. Packed with advice on everything from managing money to moving on, it helped me take those crucial first steps back to living life again.
Pamela's interviews with famous women heralded the Big Change for me.


Feisty of all was Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas. Her words leaped off the page.
"If you want to be in control of your life, be in control of what you think."

"Get up and get out of the house!"

"Get rid of all the stuff. Sell whatever you're living in, and move to a small space."

"I don't own anything I have to feed or water. I can be gone for 20 minutes or 20 years and nothing will suffer."

Some people proposed I stay in Ireland, not make any decisions, wait and see what happens, while others, well meaning, no doubt, suggested I go back to rural France again, and make myself stay.

So, in the spirit of Ann Richards, "don't ask anyone's permission", I sold the house in the hills, gave away most of my stuff and moved to the French Riviera. To the legendary Promenade des Anglais in Nice, where I'm renting a quirky 1940's apartment. Below, six lanes of traffic whiz to and from Monaco and Italy.


The traffic racket is softened by the waves of the palm fringed, sparkling Mediterranean. 
The almost mythical Cote d'Azur, Where I'm thriving.

Thank you, Texas Ladies

June 16, 2012

Dear Ms. Stone,

Thank you for your book, A woman's Guide to Living Alone. It is a delightful resource and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. From start to finish, it is a wonderful read! I left a big, happy party this evening so I could rush home and finish it! Thanks for all the time and research and skill that went into writing it. You're a talented and creative writer, and my life is better for it!

Best regards,

Cathy Plato
Katy, Texas

5-Star Reviews from Amazon.com

5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Gracefully from the Past to the Future
By Launa Huffines (Ashland, OR United States)

I read this book without stopping once to put it down. Ten steps, ten stages to create a happy, balanced, and productive life is not someone's set formula, rather this woman's guide suggests many paths a woman can take after finding herself living alone. It leaves you with a sense of confidence in the power of the will to find happiness again after a complete lifestyle change in midstream. I was deeply touched by the stories of the women who faced one crisis after another in meeting life alone and who set an intention so clear that they put together a finer life, step by step.

I met Pam by chance last week in Dallas and discovered how many hundreds of women she interviewed before writing this book. Her advice is sound; it is not filled with textbook theory. It comes from the actual experiences of women in all walks of life. Her voice is compassionate, yet strengthening rather than weakening through the kind of sympathy that encourages self-pity.

This woman's guide to living alone is empowering, yet it does not pretend for a minute that it is easy to adjust to a single life after years of living with a partner. What it does is give the reader many practical steps to move from grief or resentment or anger to a positive approach to the future. The steps include how to let go of the past, to start over from scratch, to create an income, to handle parenting alone, and whether to date again. She includes interviews with women from 42 to 78 on ways they found to feel like themselves again and enjoy life.

Whether you are adjusting to living alone or not, regardless of what kind of crisis you are going through, this book may be very helpful; it leaves you with a sense of confidence and shared victory with the women interviewed. Pam demonstrates through true stories that anyone under virtually any circumstances can create a balanced and happier life!

This book is healing to the psyche. I think it could add another dimension of practical value in healing for some of those who are reading my book "Healing Yourself with Light: How to Connect with the Angelic Healers."

The last chapter is filled with stories of well known women whose struggle has been just as intense as the rest of the large population of women who find themselves suddenly living alone. These women made the adjustments required and found new friends; many acted upon a new purpose that was both fulfilling to themselves and useful in the world around them.


5.0 out of 5 stars A Primer for Newly Single Women

Author Pamela Stone cleverly has identified a huge and defined population which traditionally has been invisible: Middle-aged women who have been forced to build new lives alone as a result of widowhood or divorce.

The book is well-conceived, well-organized and well-researched, chock full of statistical detail. To reinforce the points she is making, Stone interviews experts such as psychologists, as well as famous people who are conspicuous in their singleness, like comedienne (and widow)Joan Rivers.

The author illustrates these points with anecdotal reports. The lively writing and the constructive suggestions make A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO LIVING ALONE nothing less than a primer for millions of women who find themselves single again in mid-life.


5.0 out of 5 starsWise, poignant and funny!
By Alison Clement, author of Pretty Is As Pretty Does

This is a book that shows women how to solve the problems we face when we live alone. I recommend it for any woman who is divorced, widowed, raising kids by herself, looking for a job or trying to balance a budget.

The writer interviews women such as former Texas governor Ann Richards and actress Joan Rivers -- she also get the stories of regular women, grandmas, soccer moms, artists, etc. Through their stories the reader comes to have hope for the future as she discovers the freedom and exhilaration of being on her own. I read this and passed it to my mother.


5.0 out of 5 starsHighly Recommended
By A Customer

This is a wonderful book. Whether you are divorced, widowed, or simply living as an independent woman, this book is very sensitive to women who are dealing with feelings of vulnerability and loneliness. The author has addressed a subject matter that deals with very scary and overwhelming issues, yet she has presented it in a manner that is very accessible and enjoyable to read. The real-life stories she tells of these women and their lives are incredibly moving and personal. She also has great quotes from celebrities and politicians that give empowering advice about taking control and managing your life as an independent woman. Not only is the book filled with excellent advice and tips, but the stories she weaves in are beautifully and tenderly written, and make the book hard to put down. All women who read this book will feel comforted and less fearful when dealing with delicate issues in their lives, or when faced with the unexpected.




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