When I read the last words of Susan G. Weidener‘s Again in a Heartbeat, I knew I would be picking up Morning at Wellington Square. Susan had shared the story of a blissful courtship and love found under blossoming dogwood trees with a man who loved her more than she had ever imagined possible. A story of building a family and careers disrupted by her husband’s long and difficult battle with cancer.
I wanted to understand how a young woman with two young sons moves on from the hurt and pain of loss, a loss many of us will never experience, much less so early in life. Morning at Wellington Square is Susan’s honest and moving tale of finding her way through a maze of responsibilities and social interactions as a single, working mom.
Like a tapestry woven from rich and vibrant threads, Susan invites us along as she searches for identity beyond the roles of daughter, wife, mother, journalist. The book opens 11 years after John’s death, and John and Susan’s son’s are away at college. Living in their home alone, Susan is aware it is time to map out her journey into a new role.
However, as Susan’s writing shows us by using flashbacks and memories, lives continually build upon memories while anticipating the unknown waiting down the road.
For me, the search for community or, as others might describe it, relationship was the most meaningful and poignant part of Susan’s story.
Having been a single mother with a son in my 20s, the search for relationships, whether with the opposite sex or not, can be like walking through a mine field. After all, how do we ever know who another person really is? Is a relationship or community the source we seeking to heal our scars?
Following a testing of friendships and even a move to Arizona, Susan comes home and unexpectedly finds a way to share her gift of creative writing. One day while driving around she happens upon a bookstore called Wellington Square. And here she and others gave birth to the Women’s Writing Circle. These women, through Susan, have experienced a new life through writing and sharing their writing with others. And through Susan, her books and her blog, Susan shares her experiences as a journalist and writer with the rest of us.
I highly recommend Morning at Wellington Square to those working their way past grief and loss and to those who are looking for a way to heal from those painful emotions through writing. Susan is a gift to fellow memoirists and other writers.