Thesis Title

These Were Real People


Renee L. Dunn

Date of Graduation

Spring 2014


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Kristene Sutliff


creative nonfiction, memoir, widow, grief, bereavement, mourning, spousal loss

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


THESE WERE REAL PEOPLE is a collection of creative nonfiction essays that comprise a grief memoir centering around the death of my husband, Nathan, from Acute Myeloid Leukemia at age twenty-five. Through reflections on grandparents, stickers, tattoos, sledding, and a McDonald's restaurant, among other things, the essays guide the reader along my experience as a "baby widow.” In the tradition of grief memoirs, the pieces also focus honestly on my attempts (both successful and unsuccessful) to regain my bearings in a new, strange world and recover my sense of self with the help of an incredible "grief community.” My main endeavor was to highlight the many ways in which the griever is both alone and accompanied in her grief and, above all, to remember that those who have passed from this life are still very much "real” people.


© Renee L. Dunn

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