For Widows Only!
Prologue: About this Book
Welcome, friend. Come walk along with us. I have invited several widows, from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and experiences, to join us on this journey through grief. We want to take your hand, and help guide you through the worst of widowhood. Maybe we can help a little. Please let us try.
For Widows Only! is the book I searched for and couldn't find as a new widow. I was looking for "nuts and bolts" advice, but I also desperately needed comfort, encouragement and understanding from an ordinary widow (or many) like myself... This is also the book I started organizing decades ago when my best friend was widowed at the age of 29, with three little kids. I studied the subject at that time and counseled with my friend, but you won't be surprised to learn that I found out I didn't really know anything about widowhood until I was widowed myself at the age of 55. Only widows really know about and understand the challenges of widowhood.
I purposely limited my audience with this title, because I wanted this book to express the kind of intimacy that comes from having shared very like experiences. I do, however, consider a "widow" to be any woman whose mate has died. That includes "significant others" and those who had separated or divorced but still feel connected. I confess that others of all situations have read it and sworn that it could have been written just for them, but I wrote it especially for widows..
In order to make For Widows Only! pertinent to as many widows as possible, I talked with more than 80 widows. They ranged in age from their 20s to their 90s, financial situations ranged from poverty to prosperity, and they had been widowed from one week to more than 50 years. Many were jolted into widowhood without warning or preparation, as I was; others had months or years of waiting. Although each widow and each situation is different, in many ways we are the same. We walk the same road. I feel an immediate bond with almost every widow I meet. I know much of what she is feeling, or has felt, and she knows that I know. Our gazes connect and speak volumes without words. We widows are soul sisters, all 12,000,000 of us in the U.S., and many times that many worldwide.
I can't promise to give you ten magic words of wisdom for skimming through the terrible stages of widowhood. I wish I could. I only can offer my reflections, those of other widws and some hints from experts, in the hope you'll sift through and find what you need at the moment. I have tried to share my silly mistakes along with my gratifying successes.
In my first days as a widow, a friend reminded me of the millions of women who had gone through the same trauma as mine or worse. I doubted it then; my grief felt unique. Before long, though, I realized it was true. I had just been initiated into a huge sistehood of widows who truly understood. So have you. Maybe our experiences will help you see that we all walk pretty much the same path, AND we survive. Most of us thought we never would, but we have. Believe me, so will you.