Bonnie Flood remembers clearly the day she awoke from a dream with the very clear message that she would write a book. Since she was an artist and not a writer and had never considered writing a book, this dream stayed with her. Later she would consider this a divinely inspired message and one she did not take lightly.
Then just 2 weeks later in July 2017, her husband Cliff, an airline pilot, passed away from pancreatic cancer.
“This was a huge blow, as you can imagine,” says Flood. “For thirty-one years we had enjoyed a truly wonderful life—trips, country clubs, a full social calendar and a beautiful home. We shared 3 children and 8 grandchildren together.”
Not only did Flood lose the man she describes as the love of her life, in his dying days he informed her that he was leaving her in grave financial circumstances due to a poor investment decision. She admits that she did not participate in their finances and once he was gone spent weeks trying to retrace steps and figure out passwords to no avail. She says, “I would encourage every woman to know what is going on in their financial life.”
“Cliff was the love of my life,” says Bonnie, “so I tried to concentrate on the many adventures and experiences we had together and the love that we shared. I realized that he was gone and it was just me, my grief and some remaining money that I had from the sale of my artwork. I had to figure something out to make ends meet.” She soon harnessed her anger, angst and energy to purchase and renovate a space for an art gallery. She found this therapeutic and rewarding though as with many people who find themselves single after years of being part of a couple, she felt saddened by the lack of contact from the friends with whom they had socialized for so many years.
Bonnie shared the frustration of feeling left behind in a vulnerable time with a friend, who then encouraged her to put those emotions into writing a book. Bonnie sold her gallery and holed up in her house for three months. The end result was a book entitled, “Now Who is Going to Make My Coffee?”—the very title that was inspired by a dream and what Cliff had done for her for thirty-one years, and something he had done for the last time two days before his passing.
“Writing the book was extremely therapeutic, and I have received countless phone calls and letters from widows and widowers who have told me how much it has helped them,” says Flood.
In February of this year, Flood relocated to Greenville for a fresh start and continues to pursue her painting and teaching career amidst the flourishing art community here.
Helping others learn to paint has long been an interest of Flood’s with one of her most recognizable students being President George W. Bush.
“One day I received a call saying that I had been requested to teach painting to George W. Bush for twenty-eight days in Boca Grande, Florida. That experience was the highlight of my painting career and left me with many special memories. He has a tremendous passion for painting and it was a great joy teaching him.”
“As much as I love my art, however,” she says, “I am even more passionate about my book. I feel that it is serving a purpose for people who have lost their spouses and writing it while I grieved has given me a sense of purpose.”
When asked what advice she has for people who have lost their spouse, Bonnie encourages people not to give up, stay busy, and use and share their talents. She adds with enthusiasm, “you were left here for a reason and you have a purpose!”