Melinda Lyons

Melinda Richarz Lyons earned a B.A. from the University of North Texas and has been a freelance writer for over forty years. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Cats Magazine, True West, Nashville Parent, Frontier Times, Reminisce, Kids, Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love, Cincinnati Family Magazine, The Tennessean and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers.

An award winning songwriter, Ms. Lyons’ work has been recorded by several Western artists. She is the author of three books, Women Only Over Fifty, Murder at the Oaklands Mansion and Crossing the Minefield, which garnered a Royal Palm Literary Award. Crossing the Minefield has also been incorporated into bereavement programs across the country and is featured on many grief websites.

Ms. Lyons currently serves as Vice President of the Friends of the Tyler Public Library, where she also volunteers.

What is the New Normal? No Comments

After I lost my husband I joined a grief group. One of the topics the counselor covered was the “new normal.” I had no idea what that was, but I came to understand that it refers to life after loss. What we knew as normal is gone after a death. In order to move forward we all have to find a new way to live…

Turning Pain into Power No Comments

When you first lose someone it is impossible to do anything. You drag yourself through each sad day, hour by miserable hour. It is a struggle than takes time and effort and sadly, sometimes involves spiraling out of control…

Everything Will Be Okay If You Just No Comments

After a deep loss like the death of a loved one, well-meaning family members and friends often think they can magically erase our grief by getting us to make some sort of change. I think sometimes people who are not dealing with deep grief often have no real concept of how difficult it can be to overcome…

Different Loss, Same Pain No Comments

I recently lost my eighty-nine-year-old mother. She had suffered from health problems for several years. Still, even though I was relieved that she was no longer struggling, her quality of life was awful, and her death was expected–it was more difficult than I had imagined it would be…

Using Grief to Grow No Comments

I remember the first time my grief counselor told me that one day I might find a way to grow from my grief. I think I blurted out something like, “Grow from my grief? Are you crazy?” My husband’s loss had devastated me and I couldn’t imagine taking my experiences and actually growing from all the horrible things I had been through since his death…

Writing My Way Through Grief No Comments

One cold November morning I woke up to find my seemingly healthy fifty-six-year-old husband dead. Sid had suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep. Devastation, shock and the worst pain I had ever felt in my life followed that awful fall morning. For months I mostly just hid in my house and cried. As the numbness slowly wore off, I did what I had always done when things seemed hopeless. I wrote about my feelings. Obviously I had never been as depressed as I was after I lost my husband. Still, I was drawn to trying to ease my pain through thoughts and words from deep in my heart. I began journaling about my sadness. I was part of a wonderful grief group at the time. Weeks after writing my first entry, I shared what I was doing with other members and they were anxious to read my story. Most of us had read numerous grief books that we didn’t find very helpful. We all were struggling with various issues that we didn’t see covered in so many other books about healing. I started to really listen to members of my support group so that I could add individual stories about battles with the enemy we all called grief. We shared a tragic bond, yet we had unique journeys as we traveled down the road to recovery. After several months I shared my manuscript and the response from my grief group was overwhelming. Using all of our experiences, I covered topics many authors had not like safeguarding, skin hunger and happiness guilt. It took a long time before I emotionally could go beyond my grief group. About a year after Sid died, I realized I had a book full of heart wrenching confessions, concerns and even some humor. If members of my grief group found my words helpful, would others in the midst of deep grief feel comforted too? I will never forget what my grief counselor told me: “Don’t ever stop trying to find a way to get something positive out of your negative experience.” She encouraged me to reach out to others with my unpublished work and was also instrumental in getting an excerpt printed in a local hospice newsletter. A friend who had a small publishing company had been very supportive after Sid died. I finally got the courage to tell her about my book. With her help and a lot of editing and rewriting, Crossing the Minefield was finally published several years after Sid’s death. Now the book is part of bereavement programs and grief libraries in forty-three states, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center Patient and Family Library. It was also recently chosen as a monthly selection for the Grief Book Club of the Hospice of Frederick County, Maryland. I am not an expert on grief. And many people have suffered through tragedies much worse than mine. But the one thing I have learned is that my counselor was right–when you are dealing with

Should I Start Dating and When No Comments

As a widow offering comfort to other widows and widowers, I am often asked the question, “Should I start dating?” and if so, “When?” My advice about almost every aspect concerning spousal grief is the same. The answer to these questions is–again–a very individual thing…

Aftermath No Comments

I lost my husband Sid ten years ago. I have remarried and I am happy again. It was a long, hard struggle. But I feel like I managed to cross the minefield of grief and emerge as a better person. I know I grew stronger by conquering my grief, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t bear the scars from the worst battle I have ever fought in my life. Grief is very hard work and even a decade after my loss, those emotional scars sometimes come to the surface and trigger an explosion of grief. For someone who has never experienced losing a spouse, it is difficult to explain. On the outside it appears that you have totally moved on and everything is fine. Those of us who have experienced losing a spouse—or anyone we loved– know that is not true. Yes, we have learned to live with our loss and over the years we have found a new life. But still–we sometimes suffer from what I call aftermath. Aftermath, in my opinion, is perfectly normal. But the pain is still very deep, particularly because it can often be unexpected. Grief, to me, is like a minefield that is full of painful explosions. At first they are everywhere and no matter where you step, you will hit one. As time goes on the grief bombs are fewer and farther apart, but they are still there. My husband Sid was a big NASCAR fan. He liked it when we snuggled on the couch and watched the race together. I have to admit I was bored to death seeing cars go in a circle, but he enjoyed telling me about each car and driver. I was glad he wanted to share that with me. One night many years after his death I was at a dance club having a great time. The sound was down on a large television screen above the bar but I noticed a NASCAR race was being aired. Suddenly without warning I felt my self losing it. I ran to the bathroom and cried harder than I had in a long time. Out of the blue it hit me. Sid and I would never watch another NASCAR race together again. Of course I knew that–and had for years. Still that unexpected grief aftermath hurt so much. I have come to understand that aftermath is going to occur from time to time and there is nothing I can do about it. But it helps to know that it is okay–even after ten years. I think I prefer to look at it this way: Sid feels like every once in a while he has to reach out and let me know that he is still with me and always will be. Updated: