Thursday, March 31, 2011


"Widow (n) - An Indo-European word linked to the Sanskrit vidh, meaning to be empty, to lack."

Vidh A Book of Mourning by Phyllis Nakonechny is the best book I have read in years. I highly recommend it for anyone who has dealt with or is dealing with grief and loss. I just felt in awe after reading this book. Phyllis wrote a series of small 'essays' after her husband died of cancer but you don't have to have lost a spouse or partner for this book to resonate with you. Over and over throughout the book I had a "Yes that's it" moment of something I had experienced when dealing with my own grief after losing Mom and Dad. This following excerpt was one of those "Yes, that`s it!" moments....

    I sit under a great pine. It is cool here. The light of the July sun filters through the spaces between trees, yet its heat cannot reach my heart.

    Perhaps the beauty of words.

    I turn to the book of poetry I have brought with me. Since your death I have not been able to read. I have been unable to focus. Still, I refuse to accept this loss and carry a book with me always.

   I flip from page to page.

   The words stay flat, inert and empty.

I really don't feel I can do this book justice with this blog. If you read only one book this year let it be this one. It left me so grateful she had written it and so grateful I had read it.

A quick search on the 'net brought up these other reviews for this small yet hugely powerful book.

"This paean of love and loss speaks to the depths of human dignity and the eternity of love and loving. Exquisitely written by Nakonechny, Vidh - A Book of Mourning is at once a celebration of the human condition and a reminder of the importance to the human spirit of memory as a way of triumphing over the deepest losses." Jurors, First Book Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards***

"I wanted to tell you how much I have loved your book and how utterly wonderful your writing is. I wept all the way through, sometimes for sorrow, sometimes for joy and often just moved that someone can write what I feel. I have lost no great loved one, but I had an accident eight years ago in which I lost a lot - two years in hospitals, paraplegia and half a leg, and my accustomed life. The loss of walking on the earth is the greatest loss I can imagine. The grieving never seems to end, because I'm reminded of it every time a friend comes by or I see people walking past my window. That's all, just thank you and I will never let that little book go."Joy McCall***

"I sat alone on Thursday night and read your exquisitely evocative book. It is a book for all who love or have loved someone. When I put the book down, I was enriched. The insights I now embrace have revealed a kind of dawn for me. I am indebted to you and I am honoured to be so. Thank you doesn't seem to be enough and yet it is all I can say."Wendy Swann***

Thank you for writing Vidh…. I have not seen such powerful grief expressed on paper… I have said many times that our society does not allow people to grieve and we are so uncomfortable with those who have suffered a great loss. How wrong! How Sad! I know I will be giving many copies to friends in the years to come .Joanne Balint***

Phyllis Nakonechny Reads from Vidh: a book of mourning


  1. I'm sold! I want to read this book. I love your blog, it is very interesting. And your son, what an amazing carpenter. Your house looks lovely.


  2. Thanks Arlie. We have a copy in the library but I think everyone should have their own copy. Let me know what you think of it. My house is almost retirement ready. ;-)