Afterglow by Karen J. VanderytAfterglow is a beautiful love story and the memoir of a journey from joy through embracing darkness and learning to live with grief as a companion while looking forward with hope.  It made me laugh and cry and inspired me to summon strength to face the losses in my life.

~ Mary Stewart Hagy


Karen wrote Afterglow because she had to.

After losing her beloved husband, Bill, she felt as if she was going to implode from the sheer weight of grief she carried around in her heart, the memories of a full and happy life too painful to bare.

Karen and Bill in PortugalSlowly as she began to journal, she realized she could communicate with Bill in a way that had become comfortable to her:  she could write to him. Years of taking writing classes with Wayne South Smith had taught her the value of journaling; it had become a part of her steady meditative process.

She missed Bill’s counsel terribly, she missed being able to share her daily experiences with him, and she missed his presence. She decided each Monday night, the day of the week he had passed away, to sit down and write a letter to him.

As the weeks went by, she began to realize the value in remembering a life purposefully lived. There was value in remembering:  it was a way to honor a wonderful man.

As she remembered and wrote, she realized her children probably didn’t know some of these stories. It seemed so sad that they wouldn’t know some of this history, a part of their history, and now their children’s history. So, she decided to remember, write and share.

Her memoir is more than a remembrance of the life she and Bill shared for more than 42 years. Woven into the fabric of her stories are handwritten poems, affirmations and Post-it notes, alongside family photos, all a testimony to a life fully lived. She has tried to celebrate the life that was “us,” but also to share the devastating personal journey of trying to deal with the loss of her dear husband.

We all face grief in our lifetime.  Afterglow was her journey.


Read a sample chapter from Afterglow.

Check out purchase options.