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Author to speak in Hastings on loss and grief

Donna Mathiowetz

If you go:

Donna Mathiowetz will speak at Wise Family Funeral Home, 400 Spring Street in Hastings, on June 28 at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged since there is limited space. For more information contact Melissa Stevens, community outreach director at Wise Family Funeral Home, at or 651-437-3752.


Donna Mathiowetz, a local speaker and author, recently published a new book in the form of a guided journal called "A Journal for Your Journey: A Trip Without Regard to the Amount of Time It Takes."

Mathiowetz will speak at an upcoming event regarding the subject of loss and grief. Her book educates others on the topic of loss and grief while she shares her own life experiences with those topics. The journal takes the reader through a series of questions and personal short stories written by Mathiowetz.

In addition to her recent book, Mathiowetz recently began a business called Unfinished by Design. She uses her own experiences to help other people navigate through tough times in life through her writing and speaking engagements, whether that is with youth, businesses or grief groups.

While many people think of the death of a loved one when discussing loss and grief, Mathiowetz said that those are not the only things people struggle with. It could be health issues, loss of a job, loss of independence, broken dreams, future plans or other life events.

"I will encompass all those types of things and how do we continue to move on and find a good life even in spite of things that weren't part of our plan so to speak," Mathiowetz said.

The reason she named her business Unfinished by Design is because everyone is an incomplete work of progress until they take their last breath, she said. There are things to be done and choices to make. Sometimes there are things that come into a person's life that prepares them for something else, but she said that they don't realize it until they look back on that situation.

Mathiowetz's knowledge of loss and grief came from personal experience more than 20 years ago when her son was tragically shot and killed at a party just outside of Hastings. He was 16 years old. It was something that she had never entertained as something that would happen to her, she said.

"That's where my real solid experience of grief and loss comes from," Mathiowetz said.

A couple years later, Mathiowetz and her husband adopted a teenager from a Ukrainian orphanage named Oleg. Mathiowetz said that Oleg was an amazing gift at that time because she needed someone to mother. However, Oleg had cancer and died about seven months after coming to the Mathiowetz home.

One of the major things that Mathiowetz learned from dealing with her own experience in grief and loss is that people are more resilient than they know.

"It's not fun, it's ugly and it is devastating and it's awful but you can overcome and move into whatever the new normal is going to look life," she said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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