Living Well, Dying Well: The Final Word

Mary Friedel-Hunt

I am writing this column as Voice of the River Valley approaches its 16th birthday. 

It seems like a lifetime ago when my husband, Bill, and I sat in our living room with a group of friends chatting and eating when someone suggested that Spring Green needed a publication that would be oriented to the arts, local businesses, events and people. I remember someone suggested that I do this. 

I could not get my mind off of the idea that night as I was tired of seeing mostly bad news in newspapers. Instead I wanted to publish an upbeat newsletter. I got up at 2 a.m. and designed the masthead and the rest is history. Voice has been a success in my opinion and has been under Sara’s expert guardianship for nearly 10 years of its 16-year life now. I will always be grateful that she decided to take it over when I was in such grief and loss with Bill’s death yet wanted Voice to continue to be published. Voice deserved better than what I was able to provide at that terrible time. Sara has been true to the original mission statement and I congratulate her and Erik for what they have done to keep Voice relevant, current, interesting and well done. I know all that involves. 

It is time for me to just enjoy reading Voice instead of also writing for it. I retired my 50-year clinical and grief counseling practice (for the most part) four years ago at age 78 and now, at 82, it is time to retire this column, “Living Well, Dying Well.” I started writing columns in 1998 for three newspapers: one in Colorado, one in Wisconsin and another in the Bradenton Herald in Florida — coincidentally, Sara and Erik’s hometown newspaper. I continued doing that as Bill and I traveled through Canada and the United States full time for two years in our RV. I will always have more to say, but at this time I plan to give serious thought to either finishing the book Bill and I were working on before he got sick, or begin one of my own. Or perhaps I will just dive into the art I have dabbled with since he died. Mostly I plan to enjoy each day, read, meditate, continue to participate in my contemplative dialogue groups/classes and make sure my canine companion, Brinkley, gets enough attention (if that is possible). 

I thank everyone who was a part of this adventure in those early days: readers, advertisers, writers, artists, circulation assistants, printers, photographers, designers, those I featured, and volunteers who mattered so much. Voice introduced me to so many of you back then. How humbled and grateful Bill and I were and I still am. Thank you all so much. 

Mary Friedel-Hunt has retired after 50 years of practice as a licensed clinical social worker and certified bereavement counselor. She can be reached at mfhunt44@gmail.com or P.O. Box 1036, Spring Green, WI 53588.