By Karen Whiting

My daughter Rebecca and I felt thrilled to write a book (Nature Girl) together. However, we never expected to share that experience during my husband Jim’s battle with breast cancer and ultimately, death.

Since we lived in different parts of the country, we planned trips to write so she could spend time with Jim. We shared the writing easily but stumbled on the editor’s comments. They came the day my sweet and loving Jim received word he needed hospice care. I faced the worse edits ever as the freelance editor tried to forcefully change a fun Christian living book into a text book.  Our agent spoke with the editor, while we juggled more edits, our vision, and funeral plans. Finally, we requested a new editor. A few months later as we had settled into a new normal, we were assigned a new editor who understood our vision and worked to get the book into shape. She gave it all a fresh new look and feel. We felt energized as the book was published and rejoiced at its release.

Shortly after Jim passed away, I received a contract to write a book with my friend Doreen. Her husband suddenly got sick, went to the hospital, and several weeks later died. Added to that, she had a daughter with great medical needs and had to move an elderly mother into her home. We had many calls where we prayed and grieved together. We had to write stories of parenting that involved our husbands. Those words helped us celebrate their lives and share memories.

Grieving the loss of a spouse is truly one of the hardest of life’s challenges .Yet, life doesn’t stop… the laundry still needs to be done.  Financial decisions need to be made. A co-authored book proposal needed edits that were due for final submission. But by the hand of God, my co-author and I were on the same journey during this season of our lives. We both had recently seen our husbands head heavenward. The common ground prompted conversations of gracious understanding and inspired hope as we prayed for each other. I am continually amazed by our heavenly Father and how He meets our every need, in His perfect timing!

I’d like to share a few tips on writing with a heavy heart.

  • Let your agent know what’s happening and talk with people at the publishing house.
  • Let tears flow. Pray often.
  • Step back from the edits to realize the other person is not erasing your memories but helping them come alive.
  • Trust God’s timing.
  • Remember, if you’re grieving a physical death, the one you lost believed in you. Move forward for him or her.
  • Open up. If you are co-authoring with someone, share and pray together.
  • With prayer as your base, combined with authenticity and a willingness to receive constructive input, you’ll be well on your way to encouraging others through sharing your heart.
About Karen Whiting (

Karen Whiting writes with a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table, reflects her passion for bread and sharing meals as she incorporates sweet memories of growing up and helping at her grandparent’s restaurant.

            She is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, and author of twenty-five books for women, children, and families. Karen has written more than 700 articles for more than sixty periodicals. Currently, she writes for The Christian Communicator, Leading Hearts, The Kid’s Ark, Crosswalk, and BCM International.

Her awards include the Christian Retailing Best Award, children’s nonfiction (The One Year My Princess Devotions) and the Military Writer’s Society of America Gold Medal (Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front).

Also a certified writing and marketing coach, Karen helps clients overcome obstacles, maximize their strengths, find direction, and focus on what will sell.

Aside from writing, she enjoys other adventures which have included riding a camel in the Canary Islands, white water rafting in Australia, horseback riding in Jamaica’s ocean, and scuba diving off the coast of Bermuda. Table 6 Colo