After the death of her husband, a woman finds humor in everyday situations.
Comedy writer Scibelli was 55 when her husband Jimmy, 56, died of Burkitt’s lymphoma after being sick for just about a month. High school sweethearts, the two had been happily married for 33 years, lovingly doting on precious granddaughter Skylar. In Jimmy’s absence, the author managed to find the levity in life when circumstances were grim. Among the topics covered are financial matters such as her husband’s business partnership, her therapist “Mean Jean” and the “posse” of men who handle tasks formerly relegated to Jimmy. Well-meaning friends and relatives surround her, including a couple who name their baby after Jimmy by calling her Liat Zoe (reasoning that “Zoe” means “life” and Jimmy loved life—an argument the author is quick to poke holes in; Scibelli writes, “I imagine him responding, ‘I loved ice cream, too. Maybe some people should name their kid Rocky Road.”). Eventually Scibelli enters the dating scene, surprisingly enjoying herself. Despite the book’s theme, the tone stays lighthearted as it follows the arc from death, to funeral, to burial, to eulogy and into that defining moment when the curtain falls and one is truly alone, sans mate. Although the book is brief, the author strikes a recognizable chord in the post-marriage life of a 50something. The brevity of the text, and Scibelli’s line of work, suggest that a live performance may best bring the material to life—after all, in comedy, timing is everything. Families have their particular nuances, and those of the Scibelli clan are hinted at here. Unlike Joan Didion’s exploration of the loss of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), there’s not much depth, which is no doubt intentional, but there is an arc of experience and a final wrenching moment in which the author comes to terms with widowhood, not for a few days or months or even for the length of a book, but through the years. Widows will find comfort, inspiration and laughter here. It’s a humorous, touching read and, in the words of the late Jimmy Scibelli, “Abbondanza!”
An amusing, heartfelt look at life after loss.