On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie
Author: Delany, Sarah L. with Hearth, Amy Hill
Description: In 1995, at age 106, Sarah Delaney found herself living on her own for the first time in her life when her sister Bessie died at the age of 104. The remarkable Delaney sisters, strong, independent-minded African American women who shared a house for 40 years in Mount Vernon, N.Y., achieved fame in 1993 with their bestselling self-portrait, Having Our Say, which was followed by The Delaney Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom (both coauthored with Hearth). In a touching tribute to Bessie, Sarah addresses her sister directly, articulating her grief, despair, loss and loneliness. She also meditates on the afterlife, in which she firmly believes, and mingles childhood memories with recollections of their careers – Bessie was a dentist in Harlem, while Sarah became the first black woman high-school home economics teacher in New York City. Charmingly illustrated with color drawings of flowers (in honor of Bessie, a dedicated gardener), this unpretentious book conveys a wisdom that makes it a life-raft for anyone coping with the loss of a loved one.