I don’t know about you, but in the immediate aftermath of the death of my husband, I found it very, very difficult to read. I just couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t focus. This was new territory for me. I’ve always been a book lover, and more often than not, I used have 3, 4 or 5 books going at once. I mean, I actually read a bit of each one every day. I get lost in books and come back refreshed.
So, when I couldn’t read, it was distressing for me. I started reaching for books on grief written by other widows. I consumed them, as though they were peanuts. One after another. Each of them grounded me in some feeling that what I was experiencing was both real and normal. Always a strong and independent woman, I felt neither strong nor independent any more. Reading about the journey of other widows assured me that I was both normal and that I would learn to stand strong and independent again. It was just going to take a lot longer than I’d planned.
Still, after reading at a tall stack of grief books, I found most of them wanting. They were sweet and soft and calming, but nobody talked about the anger I was confronting. Angry at my loss, of course, but stunned and angry at the stupid and insensitive people around me were behaving and saying. People who should have known better. And then there were the practical aspects that were left ignored.
Things like, how to find help getting to sleep. Was grief counseling of any use? How to cope with feeding myself in isolation? And I stumbled across something else. I read quite a lot of books and many of them were in agreement, but wouldn’t make more sense? Wouldn’t the message have more credibility if it were brought to us by a group of widows and widowers? I thought so!
I gathered a group of local widows and widowers and we set about writing our own book, our own stories. Twenty-five widows and widowers answered twenty-five questions about our journey. We talked about how our families got weird, how neighbors shunned us, what to do with our rings and how strangers, miracle people, really, stepped in to fill the voids left by people we counted on that disappointed us. That book, my first book, is called The Widow or Widower Next Door and is available on Amazon.com, as well as on this site in the store at widowlution.com. It’s in both paperback and in Ebook version. It opens with my own story of saying my last goodbye to my own husband. The story of how he quite literally holds my heart in his hand.
I found reading a great comfort. Since that first book, I am proud to have become one of the popular Grief Diaries series writers. Just like that first book, the Grief Diaries books are collections of stories of others who have known loss, and healing. They have been called “grief therapy that fits in your purse”. Also available right here in the widowlution.com store, very soon all of the 35 titles will be there. I hope you will give them a try and find them healing too.
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