No Sugar Added: Buckled up, and enjoying the ride

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On my bedroom bookshelf sits a book entitled “Forever, Erma.” A compilation of the prolific late columnist Erma Bombeck’s most beloved musings. I picked it up at a thrift shop somewhere a few years ago, and recall feeling as if I’d found a hidden treasure, all for the bargain price of $1.25.

The first time I flipped through it (I always flip, due to my charming inability to focus for more than 10 consecutive minutes on any written piece of material), I paused when I got to a section of text written by her husband, Bill. It was something he’d read at her funeral – a story about their first meeting, and of a roller-coaster ride on what would turn out to be their first “date” – and the beginning of their “til-death-do-us-part” love affair.

He spoke of the highs, the lows, the scary, dark tunnels and the moments at the tippy-top where they could see forever and the world felt full of endless possibility and joy.

I got so wrapped up in the sweetness of the story that it caught me by surprise when suddenly, the attendant told them the ride was over. Bill looked over at Erma’s seat – and she was gone. His sentiments were, “No, not yet. It’s too soon!”

It was then that I realized the ride was merely a metaphor for their life together.

I recall tears streaming down my cheeks that evening as I lay in my bed, reading this unexpectedly touching tribute for the first time. It reminded me so much of the love I’d shared with Drew. And of my own journey with him. The laughter of the highs and the salty tears of the lows.

And of his seat suddenly being empty in that same way. And that feeling of “No, not yet! It’s too soon!”

I’ve read that piece of writing many times since that first time. And it still gets me teary-eyed. It reminds me of our fragile, human journeys. Of the love we are sometimes fortunate enough to find, and the sweetness of “the ride.”

When I wrote my first piece for The Forecaster, it was July of 2010 – two years, five months and 60-something columns ago. I remember how thrilled I felt to be invited to the “columnist party.” I recall writing that first column, humbled by the idea of someone cutting out one of my musings for a place on their fridge. My dream of bringing laughter and smiles into people’s lives, much like Erma Bombeck, had become a reality in some small way.

About eight months into my column writing, I began working on my first book in earnest. The stories had been accumulating for many years on my computer hard drive, but I had been waiting for the “right time” to turn them into a coherent and readable piece of literature. It’s been a long road, fraught with much peril and soul-searching – along with much healing and laughter.

I’m thrilled to report that I’ve survived (as have my loving and patient children) my journey into author-dom, and that my book, “The Irreverent Widow: Shockingly true tales of love, death and dating … with children in tow” will be released this week. It’s a laugh-til-you cry, cry-till-you-laugh memoir filled with my stories of loss, love, lust, death, devastation, desperation, frustration, tears, romance, adventure, laughter, heartache, probable insanity – and a few fleeting moments of what may be some brand of possible enlightenment.

As the back cover says: “So ditch the depressing self-help books! If your life hasn’t gone quite as you’ve planned and you’re in need of a fresh perspective, a touch of inspiration, some hard-earned wisdom, and a smile – I may be the woman of your dreams.”

By the time you read this, you should (if all goes well in the universe) be able to go to my new website,, to see my (fabulous!) promo video and find out more about the book and how to get your hands on a copy. It will also be available in paperback by going directly to, and at some point very soon, there will be a Kindle version available. (I’m not a big e-book fan, but if that’s your thing, I’m here for you!)

Naturally, it will also be available in real-life local book stores (gasp!) such as Longfellow in Portland and Nonesuch Books in South Portland. If you’d like to see it at a store near you, please contact me and we’ll make it happen.

This will be my last column for The Forecaster. It’s been a wonderful ride and I’ve learned so much, and have truly enjoyed connecting with all of you. I’ve been delighted and touched by your thoughtful e-mails and comments, and have been honored to have been lucky enough to adorn the occasional refrigerator.

Meanwhile, my roller-coaster ride is really just beginning, and I can’t wait to see the view from the tippy-top.

Best wishes for a magical and joyous holiday season, and when things get tough, always remember: laughter is the ultimate antidepressant!

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No Sugar Added is Cape Elizabeth resident Sandi Amorello’s biweekly take on life, love, death, dating and single parenting. Get more of Sandi at or contact her at