Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlotte Maya.
Hi Charlotte, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was widowed in 2007 when my sons were 6 and 8. I had taken my sons on a hike with the family dog one beautiful So Cal fall afternoon, and we returned home to find a policewoman, a policeman and a priest in our driveway, there to deliver the news of my husband’s suicide. I knew Sam had been stressed about work and finances, but I had no idea he was suicidal. I thought he had stayed home to take a nap.
As a young widow, I cried, cursed, meditated, medicated, downward-dogged and ran my way to save my young sons from their father’s death and legacy, then to realize that I could really only save myself. If I expected them to live lives of joy and purpose, I would have to open my own heart again. I hadn’t intended to fall in love again, but I did, with a man who had also been widowed and had two young sons, which, while lovely, was also more complicated and quite a bit louder than I might have anticipated… Along the way, I started speaking and writing about my experience. I began posting on a blog, sushituesdays.com, but I always envisioned writing a full-length memoir, which I have now completed. Sushi Tuesdays speak to the question of resilience: how I rebuilt my life after my husband’s suicide. In the same way that a baby transforms its parents, this book is making me into the writer I didn’t know I was.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
LOL! Are any roads truly smooth for very long? Suicide is a particular trauma in that the person you are grieving is also the person you are most angry with. There is a shame and a stigma associated with suicide that make it difficult to speak about, and yet the only way through the shame is to talk about it. I think we are getting better at talking about mental health and suicide, but we still have work to do.
I learned early on as a single mother of two grieving children that I needed to practice radical self-care in order to keep my little family afloat. I set aside time every week — on Tuesdays — to take care of myself. I went to yoga and therapy and did whatever I needed — a walk, a nap, taking myself out to lunch — until it was time to pick up the kids from school.
Needless to say, when I married Tim and added two more kids to the mix, things got even more complicated but also even more fun.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
When I started the blog, I thought that if by sharing my story, I could give just one person hope, then it would be worth it. Every time I get a message or a note from just one, I am happy. I am very excited that I have secured representation for the book Sushi Tuesdays and that my agent is finding the right publisher for it. It is my hope that Sushi Tuesdays will provide a meaningful contribution to the very needed conversations around suicide and mental health.
What makes you happy?
Time with my husband and our children, long walks with the dog, coffee with girlfriends, dark chocolate, an evening at the Hollywood Bowl — no matter who’s performing — or a quiet afternoon with a book and a cup of tea.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: sushituesdays.com
- Instagram: @charlottemayawriter
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sushituesdays/
Karen Ray, Katherine Tasheff, Charlotte Maya