Vidh, a Book of Mourning

15 June 2011

Vidh, A Book Of Mourning
by Phyliss Nakonechny
Published by Hagios Press
Review by Sharon Adam
$18.95 978-1-926710-06-8

Following the death of her husband, Phyliss Nakonechny devoted much of her time to the pursuit of understanding grief and grieving. She asked the question “what does it mean to be a widow?” and came away empty-handed. What she learned is the stark, utterly personal nature of such a quest. However, she discovered a few signposts along the way which she now shares in hope of helping others through their own journey. The first thing Phyllis found was a simple word: Vidh. Vidh is known as the ancient Sanskrit word for widow and widowhood. However, Vidh has a second meaning stemming from ancient India that few know: it also expresses notions of “apart, lacking, and empty.”

Not a misery memoir, but a voice for every woman who will become a widow, Nakonechny’s book also provides an insight for men who are left behind. Death and dying are two entirely different things. When your spouse is dying, there are still moments of tenderness, intimacy and the sense of the person being there. In death there is nothing but memory. Everything that was physical is suddenly gone, never to be again.

This is the subject that Phyliss Nakonechny deals with in such a personal, compassionate voice. In sharing her story of what she lost and how she lives her new life, she blesses others with the knowledge that their feeling of grief are real and should be acknowledged. This lovely journal is poignant, sincere and written in a style of poetic prose that invites intimacy while sharing something that is unique to each individual. In her own words Phyliss says “In offering the voice of the widow….I hope to break through the unspoken code of secrecy that surrounds the experience of loss.”

I loved the way Phyliss has chosen to present her book. You do not need to read it from front to back, but pick it up and start anywhere. A difficult subject to deal with, she tackles her grief and indeed does give the widows an identity of her own, after taking the identity of someones’ spouse who is no longer there. A book that belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and a perfect gift for women and men who will become widows and widowers at some time in the future. Phyliss Nakonechy lives and writes in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.


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