Delaware native Denise Brown has always enjoyed writing, but becoming a published author has been a bittersweet journey for the 47-year-old.
Although she's glad that her memoir, "The Unspeakable," is available to readers, she would've preferred that there had never been a need to write it.
That's because her memoir, released last month by the University of Delaware Press, is about the minutes, hours, days and years following the violent death of her husband, Otho R. "Ott" Brown in 1998.
He was gunned down, along with three co-workers, by a disgruntled employee at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters, where he served as president.
"The Unspeakable" is based on a journal Mrs. Brown kept following her husband's death.
"My hope for the book is to tell what it means to lose someone through violence, in the hope that it might do some small good in the world," she said.
Mrs. Brown's late husband, a Bear native and University of Delaware graduate, had previously served as director of the Delaware Lottery.
She met him while working for the state and they married in 1986.
They had a son and twin girls, who were 10 and 8, respectively, at the time of the shooting.
After unexpectedly finding herself a widowed mother in March 1998, Mrs. Brown poured her grief into a journal.
"I suppose it was therapeutic, though I didn't see it that way at the time," she said. "I needed an outlet."
Her journal became a place to document the nightmares, struggles and pain she encountered after her sudden loss.
A selection of her writing was initially published in a literary magazine, and later evolved into "The Unspeakable."
Mrs. Brown said she would like her book to spark a more honest discussion about violence and loss.
"We have in this society a love affair with violence and very little understanding of its long term effects, on either the large or small scale," she said.
"The Unspeakable" offers a close-up look at the tragic and long-lasting impact violence has had on the Brown family.
Mrs. Brown knows that she and her children will never be completely free from grief, but she said time has given them an opportunity to heal some of their pain.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Brown moved to Vermont, where she now writes a food column and teaches part-time at Lyndon State College.
Her son and daughters also seem to be doing well.
"I look at my children now and see them strong and independent, thriving and successful, each in his or her own way," she said.
"But I am a mother, and maybe I see what a mother wants to see. It's impossible to gauge how a child has suffered from the loss of a father."
Mrs. Brown said she fondly remembers her late husband as an exceptional and courageous man, who according to his co-workers put himself at risk on the day of the shooting to give them time to flee.
"He was a truly decent human being, and very brave," she said.
By sharing her grief over his loss, Mrs. Brown reveals a part of the Connecticut Lottery shootings left untold by the media.
"The Unspeakable" is available at amazon.com.