Monday, July 28, 2014

Resources for Young Widow(er)s

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[Note: Since its original appearance, this post has been updated ~ most recently on September 4, 2017.]

There’s a tendency to picture widowhood as a consequence of old age, yet about one-third of widows lose their spouse before age 45. Widowhood is not something young women are prepared for, and they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder to some degree. ~ Gwen Peterson, president of Hope for Widows

A reader writes: Next month on the 8th it will have been two years since my husband died and I have to admit it still hurts horribly. I don't feel crazy anymore and I guess it is a bit less sharp...but it still hurts every day. I still cry at every anniversary and holiday. I still need to sleep with his shirt at night and I still ache for just one more hug. Will this ever stop hurting? I am 36 years old and I miss being in a relationship. Sometimes I think about dating again in the future, but I still feel like my husband's wife and the thought of loving another man feels so alien. Next week he will have been dead longer than we were together.
The total sum of our relationship together was one year, eleven months and four days....and then he died. In two days he will have been gone for one year and eleven months. I hate that I am reaching this milestone. I have moved back to my home state to stay with my parents who are taking care of my baby since I am such a mess. I just wonder: Are there are any young widows blogging out there? New single moms? I have not connected to anyone and I really feel alone in this reality I am in.

My response: My dear, I'm so very sorry to learn of the death of your dear husband; please accept my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. You've asked about young widows blogging, and I want you (and others reading this) to know about some wonderful resources aimed specifically at young widows and widowers:

Blogs and Websites 

A Widow’s Pursuit

Exploring The Kaleidoscope of Life

Fresh Widow (including My huge list of blogs by widowed people )

GYST: Your Planner for Life's Most Important Things

Griefnet.org

Grief Speaks Out on Facebook

Hope for Widows

Life As A Widower

Lost-Without-Her.com

Memoirs from Widow Island

National Widowers' Organization

Pathfinder: A Companion Guide for the Widow/er's Journey

Refuge in Grief

Safehaven for Widowed

Single Fathers Due to Cancer

Soaring Spirits International

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation on Facebook

The W Connection

Unwedded Widows on Facebook

WAY: Widowed and Young

Widow Chick

Widow Chick on Facebook

Widow’s Voice Blog

Widowed Village

Widower's Grief

Widows Hope

Widows Wear Stilettos

Young Widow Support Group Basics

Books

After the Loss of a Spouse: What's Next? by Joanne Z. Moore

Being a Widow by Lynn Caine

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow, Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity by Catherine Tidd

Dream New Dreams: Reimagining My Life After Loss by Jai Pausch

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing after the Death of a Loved One by Brooke Noel and Pamela D Blair,

I'm Grieving as Fast as I Can: How Young Widows and Widowers Can Cope and Heal by Linda Feinberg

Love You, Mean It: A True Story of Love, Loss and Friendship by Patricia Carrington et al

Then and Now: Changed Perspectives of a Young Widow by Michelle Jarvie

Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin

Other

What Not to Say: How to Reach Out to a Young Widow - "There’s a tendency to picture widowhood as a consequence of old age, yet about one-third of widows lose their spouse before age 45. Widowhood is not something young women are prepared for, and they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder to some degree, said Gwen Peterson, president of Hope for Widows Foundation. Their vision of their lives and plans for the future are shattered. How to help — even just what to say — in the face of such loss is a challenge to those who love and long to comfort someone. Most people have no idea how to approach the topic of an untimely death . . ."

Grief: What Does Grief Mean to Me? - "Grief, I feel, is a process that is largely done alone. I don’t know if that is unique to our American society, or if that is universal across the world. I think the griever would be better supported and comforted if the grief was done within the context of community and relationship. That support, that assistance, the listening ear can be so essential to the healing. But, especially at my relatively young age, my friends simply can’t relate to grief let alone the grief of a dead spouse. So, I have gone about my grief journey largely alone . . ."

Holiday Letter to a Young Widow - "Dearest Heart, This season reminds me of endings, but also of a December long ago that was a beginning. After one of the most challenging periods of Gary’s cancer and time at an alternative clinic, he returned looking much healthier. With both of us rested, we could breathe, share a beautiful Christmas, and re-embrace each other and our marriage. We were more in love than ever. It was also the beginning of the end. Sometimes, it’s best not to know.
          If the me that’s now thirteen Christmases without Gary could whisper in your ear, I would share some insights to give you peace and ease the pain that was right around the corner waiting to knock you to your knees. The first thing I would say is trust your intuition. Every choice you made was the best one you could and led you to a new life of purpose in spite of feeling, for many years, like you didn’t want to go on . . ."


Hope and Healing at Camp Widow - "I'm pretty good at tapping in to my grief and leaning in to it when I need to rather than pushing it aside and playing the denial game, so I was thinking today, why do I feel 'ok' right now? Where did this 'good vibe' buzz come from? And the only thing I can really put it down to is Camp Widow. It feels like attending this event last weekend was some kind of turning point in my grief journey . . ."

Widowed Pen Pal Program - From Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, this program is designed to connect you with a peer with whom you can share the ups and downs of the widowhood journey. You may choose to connect by email, phone, or whatever feels comfortable. Matches generally will be within ten years of each other in age, will have lost their partners within six months of each other, and  will be in the same situation regarding having children.

Writings by Megan Devine - This young widow witnessed the accidental death by drowning of her partner Matt in 2009. She is  a licensed clinical counselor, writer, and grief advocate. Find her at RefugeInGrief.com, on Facebook and on Google Plus.

Writings by Eric W - This young man suddenly became "an unmarried widower" when his partner of 13 years was killed in an accident. Follow Eric on Twitter.

Note to Readers: Suggestions for additions to this list are welcome. Please feel free to leave a comment, question or tip of your own, in the Comments section!
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© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC

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