Donna McCart Welser
New Degree Press (2022)
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (06/2022)
Do you have a bucket list?
Are you that person who makes huge promises to yourself to do that thing, whatever it is, before you die and then doesn’t give it a second thought? Or maybe you are so immersed in the everyday grind that having a silly list has never entered your realm of thinking. Donna McCart Welser wants readers to not only think about this list but start actively pursuing it.
After caring for her husband with brain cancer, Donna became a widow in her forties. Before the disease took Ray’s life, the couple made a conscious effort to make the most of his final days. Despite her penchant for living in the moment, she lost a sense of direction when his life ended. She was far too young to let the rest of the time she had slip through her fingers, so with the help of counseling and supportive friends, Donna slowly began moving forward and began pursuing and adding things to her list, and through this experience, she has written a memoir/self-help book to encourage and show others that if she can do it, they can do it, too!
The moment I received “Rue’s Butterfly,” I knew I was in the presence of something special, but I had no idea how much of a profound impact it would have on my life. Diagnosed with social anxiety at a young age, I had become an expert at avoiding stressful situations. I’ve always erred on the side of caution, made choices that were carefully calculated, and never took any unnecessary risks. This rationale had kept me safe for thirty-seven years. Unfortunately, it has also immensely affected my quality of life and overall happiness. As I read through the pages of this book, my hands trembled, and my heart pounded like a hammer in my chest. Donna’s words shook me, they terrified me, and they called to me. It was time to step outside my proverbial bubble and reclaim my life.
The author of “Rue’s Butterfly” penned a beautiful memoir that examines a harrowing tale of grief and the process of healing and moving forward after a loved one’s death. With Donna’s encouraging words, the reader moves through the process of caregiving, grief, and life after loss. Readers are prompted with questions/activities to reflect upon throughout the book. I thought this was incredibly useful as it provides direction for those who may feel overwhelmed or lost. It definitely got me thinking about mortality and the importance of living in the moment.
It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum of everyday life or wallow in grief and put your dreams on the back burner for later. But the author reminds us that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed—we need to make our happiness a priority now. Start saving for that dream vacation, quit the job that makes you miserable, or leave the relationship that no longer serves you. Don’t wait for tomorrow, and don’t wait to read this book!