What’s the Best Way to Help a New Widow?
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — According to Statistica, there were 11.6 million widows living in America in 2017. Every year, more women join their ranks, some suddenly, others after a spouse’s long illness. Although widows make up six percent of the U.S. population, friends and family members often have no idea what to do to help a woman recover her equilibrium after the loss of her husband.
That is why three friends from Albuquerque used their life experiences to pen a new book, Wonder Widows: Three Grieving Widows Coming Together to Break the Silence of Widowhood.
Peggy Langenwalter was widowed in 2012 after 42 years of marriage. Her husband died of injuries sustained from falling off a ladder. Trish Comer’s 36-year marriage ended after her spouse was felled by a short illness. Jennifer Cox-Horak was married just six years and pregnant with her second child when her husband succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
While new widows get a lot of attention before the funeral, Comer says friends and relatives quickly go back to their own lives. It is not unusual for widows to feel left out and unimportant. But as the three widows discovered, death can be a wake-up call for life. Among the topics addressed in their book are shaping a new identity, handling holidays and anniversaries, coping with brain fog, and forming a new relationship with sex.
Comer says, “We are not grief counselors, nor are we psychologists. We are three women who came together with a common purpose. We want to share how we are learning to thrive in this new world as we process our grief.”
The Wonder Widows offer these dos and don’ts for interacting with grieving widows:
- Don’t ask what needs to be done. Say “may I bring you dinner on Monday and eat with you?” Or “how about if I pick you up and we go for a drive and have lunch this Saturday?”
- Do phone or stop in and say “I’m heading to the grocery store, what can I pick up for you?”
- Don’t tell her “he’s in a better place,” “it was his time” or “everything happens for a reason.” Those words may bring comfort someday, but not in the early phase of the grief process.
- Be present, patient, and a good listener. You don’t have to fix her. Allow her to tell stories and share thoughts or feelings. She is outwardly processing, and that is part of healing.
Praise for Wonder Widows
“Grief can cause such an imbalance not only in the physical body, but for the mind, emotions and spirit. It’s good to read about the many different ways the authors developed their own unique self-care plan. There truly isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan!” — Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Goddesses Never Age, The Wisdom of Menopause, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
“Should you decide to read Wonder Widows, be sure to you have a yellow highlighter handy. In fact, you may want to have two in case the first one runs dry.”— Herb Knoll, author of The Widowers Journey, founder of Widowers Support Network
About the Wonder Widows
Peggy Langenwalter, Trish Comer, and Jennifer Cox-Horak are wellness educators whose combined expertise includes hypnosis, Ayurveda and aromatherapy. In March, Langenwalter and Comer will conduct an interactive workshop called Breaking the Silence of Widowhood as part of a seven-day healing cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea.
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SOURCE Trish Comer