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How easy it is, how easy,
for the brain to trick us
into wiping pain away, 
into thinking you’re here at my door,
or in the kitchen by my side, sipping
at the mug, sighing at the early hour,
calling my name, your
mouth at my ear.
How easy, how easy.

--Old Habits
Thelma T. Reyna

Golden Foothills Press
What do you do when your beloved husband of 
50 years and 8 months dies undergoing a minor surgery? Poet laureate Thelma T. Reyna turned towards the written word.

Thelma lost her beloved husband Victor two years ago. Her grief was unbearable and immeasurable, but life goes on and unfortunately, she had to march with it.

I wish the wife back then knew clearly what the widow now knows…about impermanence, about ensuring that our loved ones know clearly and unfailingly how much they mean to us, how much they enrich our lives, because we’re telling them regularly, with heart and soul.”

Heartfelt. Piercing. Loving.

DEAREST PAPA: A MEMOIR IN POEMS celebrates the man, the lover, the father, the friend.  Thelma divides the book into five stages – not of grief, but of life.  Beginnings shines a light on their college romance, their shared love of poetry, their marriage, their children. Endings contains the pain and emptiness of death for the living.  Mourning is the start of her journey pass the grief into acceptance. Balms and Resolutions are witness to her strength and courage to go on with her life, and find solace in her memories, her family, in nature and in her poetry.

“In my small book here, I attempt to show how these threads of life are interwoven, with relationships evolving and surviving as love, family, and nature line up to mitigate the stab of loss. It is a modest memoir of my husband’s life, and our life together, as well as a tribute to his goodness and devotion.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   Thelma T. Reyna’s books have collectively won 14 national book awards. She has written 6 books: a short story collection, 2 poetry chapbooks, and 3 full-length poetry collections, including DEAREST PAPA: A MEMOIR IN POEMS.  As Poet Laureate in Altadena, CA in 2014-2016, she edited the ALTADENA POETRY REVIEW ANTHOLOGY in 2015 and 2016. Dr. Reyna’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks, blogs, and regional media for over 25 years.  She was selected as a “Top 10 San Gabriel Valley Poet, 2016” by Spectrum Publications and was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in Poetry in 2017.  She also won the “2011 Women in Business Award, Most Inspirational” for her work as an author, presented by California State Assembly and State Senate legislators for the Pasadena district. Dr. Reyna has curated and coordinated numerous poetry readings of fellow Southern California poets, organized literary panel presentations for special events, and is a professional editor. She received her Ph.D. at UCLA. Visit her at