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This memoir offers hope and healing. Fearless and willing to express emotion, Terre Reed writes with passion and intensity, allowing us into her most intimate experience. Together we feel loss, forgiveness, love, and acceptance.
Terre shares her story of personal growth via essays, paintings and poetry. Her voice is honest: in her wavering she is strong; in her confusion she is clear; in her sorrow she is joyful.
My initial goal in writing The Wind Blows and the Flowers Dance: An Artist Shares Her Life from Loss to Renewal is of course, selfish--my own healing. It also is a part of Charlie's (my husband of forty years) legacy. However, independent of me, it quickly took on a larger focus.
I became aware something very important needed to be shared. And, I had the ability to positively impact healing in others. Over the next four years of writing that commitment never flagged. As I tested out passages on friends and editors it grew from about twenty essays to the book you see today, in three parts and expanded to include paintings and a poetry section.
More than any other form of celebration upon its completion and publication has been a deep feeling of satisfaction as I hear from readers and read their comments in the review section.
I celebrate the book's real goal and its real success: it is making a contribution. Over and over people share with me that the book has left them feeling more confident. It has given them hope. And that my friends, is success.
Watch an interview with Terre by the Friends of the Santa Fe Library
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The Wind Blows and the Flowers Dance
The Wind Blows and The Flowers Dance is a REAL love story. It is not just a story of deep love between two people. It is how love even in the face of death's tragedy never leaves you and will show up because it lives in your heart. Terre's beautiful art and words offer the raw truth about death and about her courage to continue when it seemed most impossible. If you find yourself looking for a book about grief, this book will offer you REAL hope because it is about REAL love.
What a treat! This beautiful book opens a window to one person’s experience of the mystery and pain of death, then gently ushers us to an awakening of new life. Drawing on a deep well of insights and emotions, and using a minimum of words to express them, we become a special guest invited to witness what it means to be human in all its grand, devastating, and life-giving moments. A joy to read.
Dr. Harry Eberts
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Author: Tending the Fire
Guiding Teacher of Life Transition Meditation Center
This book will be hard to put down. It is healing medicine that penetrates to the deepest part of one's nature. Her artistic ability shines a soft and embracing light into the process of grief. Terre awakens all the sense doors and turns the grieving process into a welcoming experience.
With poignancy and humor, Ms. Reed provides an insightful journey through the process of grief following the loss of a spouse or partner. The author expertly captures the gamut of emotions leading up to and following death. I cried, laughed and revisited my own grief. I came away with a better under-standing and a greater sense of closure around my own personal loss. An accomplished artist, five of her paintings accentuate the narrative.
Widower, Los Angeles
I feel blessed to travel this journey with you, so creatively expressed, as well as thoroughly and deeply experienced. You show us how learning and experiencing the power of the present moment can serve as an anchor to touch the losses and wounds of the past and a tool to move forward, one step at a time to renewal, over and over again. Those who experience grief will find support and sustenance to carry on in your book.
Having lost to death my partner of forty-seven years, many of your words expressing the immense pain and emptiness resonates in my life. Your ability to put into words the feeling of aloneness with the desire to hide from the outside world described my innermost feelings upon my wife's death—I was instantly a widower. A very insightful work.
Widower, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Poet, Four-time winner of the
Browning Society Gita Specker Award
Terre has compiled a tough, tender and touching journey from the loss of her beloved husband to the nourishment and intensity of self-discovery. From opening to close, this memoir accompanied by five gorgeous paintings and nine philosophically precise poems of warmth and love is a treasure, a polished and radiant work!
Beautiful . . . painful . . .important. A process for each widow to find the path to peace and joy. While you may never “get over it,” you probably don’t want to. The prize of Terre’s journey is learning to live beautifully with it. Her book is a “must read” for the widow to be, the widow of reality, and the widow of rebirth.
Widow, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chapter 30, Emptiness
“One of the hardest gates to pass through is the gate of acceptance:
I am here; I am alive; I am now.”
“Hero with a Thousand Faces,”
NPR interview with Joseph Campbell
In a restaurant at dinner last night, I found myself staring at the chair on the other end of my table. The couples, on either side of me were smiling and engaging one another with the joy that comes from meeting new, interesting people. For me, they were backdrop, a bubbling brook of conversation, while I connected with the detail of that empty chair.
Today, I sit by the large window in his woodworking shop. The sun pours in and warms this cold space. I see a beautiful peach rose blooming out of the window. I hear the second hand on the clock ticking, myself breathing, and the pen scratching on the paper. I hear a bird chirping. Insistently. It has something to tell.
I look around and see what’s waiting to get done. It waits and I write. I am in that suspension where I don’t want to forget, and yet I need new memories and experiences—not to replace but to ease the process of losing and fill the aloneness.
The mess I see is my mess, and whatever needs doing has to be my doing. The large shop air compressor kicks on. I must have forgotten to turn it off. No one does that for me. Now the freezer kicks on. It, too, has an air compressor; this one freezing, the other one blowing blasts of air. And then, there are the compressors on the roof of the walk-in coolers Charlie had designed and built.
How did it get to be October? How did it get to be fall? How is it he has been gone now 15 weeks? Almost four months. Time is racing and the space between us seems to be growing wider and wider. His absence is still very new . . . no time at all.
My thoughts consume me. I cannot tell you what they are. Perhaps like dreams, when I return to the present, they are gone. A dear friend walks in the door as I fold towels. “Did I know you were coming?” I vaguely remember a phone call.
My friends are loving me and setting me down gently. They reach out to me. They want to spend time with me. “How are you?” is the relentless question. I lack words to describe how I am. “Okay,” seems to be the only word that comes out of my limited vocabulary.
How did I get multiple tissue boxes and a roll of paper towels on my desk? In fact, tissue boxes are in every room, everywhere I look. Sitting in his shop, now my space, the last of my company gone, I feel myself sinking as I continue to drain.
It’s time to feel my own edges. I don’t know where I begin or end. Taking time for me, my intention is immediate. I feel supported as I pick the peach rose and trim the rosehips off the bush, giving it my full attention. I notice shoulder muscles slightly relax, notice thoughts, maybe notice some feeling.
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