- Who : Roselee Blooston, Red Hook
- What : Author of Dying in Dubai: A Memoir of Marriage, Mourning and the Middle East
- Learn more: At her talk at Red Hook Public Library, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2:30 p.m.
RED HOOK, N.Y. -- Roselee Blooston tackled tons of challenging writing assignments during her career. Nothing, however, matched the difficulty the Red Hook resident found in writing a memoir about the death of her husband and the subsequent issues of mourning, grief and widowhood.
Blooston will discuss her book, Dying in Dubai: A Memoir of Marriage, Mourning and the Middle East, at the Red Hook Public Library on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 2:30 p.m. “It has,’’ she said, “been a long haul.”
Blooston’s life changed dramatically when her husband, Jerry Mosier, died of a ruptured brain aneurysm in January 2008 in Dubai. Mosier, 53, frequently traveled to Dubai for his work as a media consultant.
Blooston’s book starts with her frantic rush overseas followed by 15 days in a profoundly disorienting environment. It continues over the next 13 months as she grapples with grief, unexpected revelations about her husband, and the struggle to remake her life.
Blooston’s book was published in October. She started working on it in April of 2008, just over two months after Mosier died. Two years later, she attended a writing workshop and identified a clear structure to the book.
“I realized then that I was writing a memoir,’’ Blooston said. “I had worked on it periodically. At the end of the workshop, I had 15 chapters for the first half of the book. That was a pivotal moment. We would share each other’s work and respond to it. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t gone through that workshop.”
Blooston found several challenges in writing the book. The first was in reliving 15 days in Dubai immediately following the death of Mosier, to whom she had been married for nearly 24 years. They met a New York City bus stop in 1981, and drew media attention from New York television stations when they married at the same bus stop three years later (click here for a video of the wedding).
When she went to Dubai, she fought the red tape of Sharia law, and a system where she faced misogyny, condescending doctors, lawyers and bureaucrats. “Having to relive those 15 days my son and I spent in Dubai was the hardest part of the whole book,’’ Blooston said.
She also had to confront issues associated with widowhood, such as the funeral, finances and settling her husband’s estate. She finished a draft for the book in 2012, and continued to polish it while taking frequent breaks. Blooston, whose career started as an actress and morphed into teaching and finally writing, would work on the book for months at a time, stop, and pick it up later. After numerous drafts, she finally completed the book earlier this year.
“It was both draining and cathartic,’’ Blooston said. “There comes a point where you go through emotions. At some other points, you put on your writer’s hat and it’s not therapy. I want to communicate with people I don’t know personally. I wanted to be emotional on the page, because I think that’s what people identify with.”
In the end, Blooston feels her book is “an honest look at mourning, marriage and how I survived the worst thing that ever happened to me. The message is that no matter what kind of loss you experience, there is a path through it, you will survive and you can even thrive. My life in the Hudson Valley has been beautiful. There is a way through it, as long as you’re not afraid to feel everything you have to feel.”
Blooston moved to Red Hook three years ago, and serves on the Rhinebeck Rotary. She said the epilog to begins on the first day she moved from New Jersey to Red Hook.
“There are a lot of things I value in Dutchess County,’’ Blooston said. “There’s a tremendous amount of cultural opportunities. It’s very interesting in terms of the arts. The food is fabulous, and people are very friendly. You’d be surprised how many who live up here now are from New York or New Jersey.”
Tuesday’s discussion at the Red Hook Public Library’s community room begins at 2:30 p.m. and is free. Click here to visit the Red Hook Public Library website. Click here to purchase the book and read reviews on Amazon.com.