It was the night of May 31, 2017, and silence at last had descended on the historic shingle-sided house on Curve Street, just blocks from the Wellesley College campus. Two weeks before, Katie Swenson witnessed the sudden death of the man she was to have married in matter of weeks. Now the funeral was past, the houseguests departed, and Swenson was alone in the bed she had hoped to share for the rest of her life with Tommy Niles.

Sobbing, unable to sleep, she picked up her iPhone and using her thumbs texted herself a message — the first in a series of diary-like entries she would make over the following year. In them, she would reflect on her and Niles’s lives; their friends, family, and community; and how we shape our homes, and they shape us.

Not until the following winter, though, did the Wellesley native begin to shape her stream-of-consciousness thoughts into what would become In Bohemia: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Kindness (Schiffer Publishing, 2020).

“I wrote really just to save my own soul,” Swenson said in a Zoom interview from “Bohemia,” the sun-splashed third-floor sanctuary for which the book is named. “It felt like that writing was almost a direct line to the grief I was feeling in that moment. I could never replicate that later.”

Read more in the Digital Edition of the Summer 2022 Issue of WellesleyWeston Magazine.