When you are widowed you wonder if you 're the only one that cuddles up in bed in the middle of the day because it's just too much effort to get on with life. Or maybe you're so busy that you haven't had time to stop and grieve and you wonder if there are other widows like you.
This page is full of stories widows have sent us about their own journey and we have them here so you can see that you are not alone.
I LOVED your story!!!You gave some wonderful insight, and what I really liked was that you gave lots of ideas for getting on the healing path. I found your words were very wise, but more importantly, inspirational. I could certainly identify with so much in the chapter and found myself nodding "yes", throughout the story.
Since my interview with you, I am currently on a different path than I was at that time. I have come to the realization that I do not require a man in my life to feel complete and enjoy life. I am selling my house and buying a garden home in Hampton. I have applied for a teaching position overseas and am looking forward to my son's wedding this coming summer. I have a true sense of freedom and am enjoying it to the max!! My greatest fear after Roger died was that I would one day be alone. It was hard seeing my children grow up and go out on their own, but I eventually accepted it and believe it or not, I have come to terms with the way things are and I'm actually seeing all the positives of being on my own.
The poem by Pat Perrin is amazing, and certainly lends itself to the theme of your book. Thanks for sharing with me.
Hi sorry I can’t join you for supper. I was one of those widows who did not look after her money, and I am on a very tight budget. have fun, when I am in a better place I will join you again my pastor received your book and called me to see if I wanted it. I had stopped going to church about 2 years ago and it was so strange he called me because there is some widows in our church. As a result of his call I have gone back to church and intend to become active in my church again, so your book does other things beside help with healing, so strange or not.
Well done Mary! I was impressed. Our guys are not replaceable that's for sure. There were several phases that really caught me,
Everyone dies and its not avoidable.
Only God knows how much time you have.
I'm afraid of growing old and having regrets for people and places I never made the effort to explore.
people are more important while things have lost their appeal.
I didn't have to cater to other people's needs all the time. I started to slowly change as circumstances forced me into a new lifestyle. I questioned my habits…
(about the lawnmower)… No one used it but Donnie and the first time I had to start it up and mow the lawn I cried the whole time.
I have made room for friends in my life.
(about grief) That's ok, I let it have its time, but I make an effort to keep moving so it doesn't find a home in my soul.
And the most profound; 'The greatest thing in the world is to have someone exclusively of your own – to love, to trust and to share'.
There were so many others Mary. I have scribbled and highlighted all over it. It gave me a sense of peace to read it and I will many times. I hope you are very proud of your accomplishment. If you are like me, unfortunately death spurred us on to an area we wouldn't have explored, certainly I wouldn't have chose it, and yet you have made value from it. We need this book Mary.
You are most welcome to take excerpts (if you want) from what I wrote and forwarded to you earlier. Greif evolves and now I'm in a different place with it. The strangest things will set me off. I have two big decisions left, one where to bury Jose's remains and two, what to do with his boat. I can't bear anyone having or touching the boat. Imagine a stranger putting their hands where Jose's were, touching what he valued, his passion. I just can't see past it. Not yet and maybe never. I'm really stuck. Last night someone told me Jose wouldn't want me in such agony and if he had known asking me to take him back to the Acores would cause such pain, that he would have never asked me. Well fine, but he did and I agreed. Someone else told me we sometimes make promises we can't keep. I just wish I could sort out my feelings, myself, without allowing influence. So overall I guess I'm not ready.
Last night I swear as I fell asleep I could feel him all around me. Touching my hair. Then it was like swords passing through my body that didn't hurt, at different angles, sweeping down and through, down and through. A couple of days ago I felt his presence and saw a movement in the bedroom door way twice. Not a shadow, how would I describe it, more like a whisper or a fleeting corner of the eye image. Not even a body just a movement somehow.
I am forever changed for having known him. People say the spirit stays with you for a year – how they know beats me, but it scares me that the year mark is approaching, does that mean he'll leave me? I'm becoming desolate in my own fear of being completely abandoned. I feel like I have come to know you through your writing. That's the part where we expose ourselves and you have done so with skill and the ultimate love of others in our situation. Again I say well done.
I was widowed at age 44 – By Lynn
I was widowed at the age of 44 on October 10, 2002. My husband, David was also 44 at the time of his death.
I stumbled upon your name while surfing the internet one evening which in turn led me to your website and the book that you wrote called “The Sisterhood of Widows.” First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss and second, congratulations on being an author!!
This is my story….
I pondered over buying your book for a couple of weeks and then eventually I felt brave enough to actually drive to Indigo Book Store on the east side of the city, search the self-help section and purchase your book.
I remember thinking to myself that I hope that no one that I know will see me purchase this book because I’m sure it would have been followed with a dozen questions of which I certainly didn’t feel like answering. So, in fact I hid the book in my arms with my other purchases until I got to the cash register. I have never had counseling when my husband passed and I thought maybe it was time for me to read about what widows tend to go though and how they cope with their loss.
It was a Saturday afternoon when I brought the book home and sat down on the couch and read all afternoon and well into the late evening. Tears filled my eyes after reading the first chapter and from then on I felt compelled to keep reading. I was so wrapped up in reading about each widow’s journey and how their experiences made me reflect on my own journey that I couldn’t put the book down until I read every last page.
Throughout reading your book I have shed many tears. Each chapter had a passage written in such a way that it was exactly how I felt at the time that I lost my husband and that I still feel sometimes even today almost nine years later. And here, after all these years I thought I was the only one who felt some of the things I was feeling. It’s nice to know that there are other women out there that have gone through or are currently going through the same thing. Your book is bursting with many excerpts that strike a chord with me.
There are still times when I have a hard time coping with my loss. I still can’t seem to talk about my husband very much with my children or to anyone for that matter and there are many nights that I still cry myself to sleep. To this day maybe a certain song on the radio, maybe a television program or a movie, maybe something someone said, or maybe a certain look from someone can all bring back memories.
As sad as it may seem the way I look at death is that it is a fact of life. We live; we die. Die. I can’t stand that word! I can’t even say it! It’s such a dark terrifying word! I am surprised that I even typed it just now. I always used the phrase “passed away” or “passed on” because these words don’t seem as harsh to me.
I became isolated living in my own little world for the longest time. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I always felt and still sometimes feel like I’m a third wheel so I tend to do things by myself most times.
My two daughters were 16 and 19 years old at the time of their father’s death, old enough to understand what was happening but yet young enough that they still needed me.
At the time I remember thinking about how am I going to live when my both of my daughters decide to move out on their own someday?
How do I survive by myself?
Who will look after me?
How do you live in a house full of silence?
Who will greet me when I get home from work?
Who will be around to talk to?
How do I go on?
So many questions but yet… life continues. One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. One month at a time until the next thing you know years have slipped by.
If it wasn’t for my sister-in-law, Dee Dee and her husband Glen I would never have made it through my husband’s funeral. Thank God for guardian angels! To this day I don’t remember the funeral or who all attended the service. People tell me the church was jam packed. Everything from placing the obituary in the local newspaper, to picking out the casket, to making funeral arrangements is all one big blur.
Where do you find the time to think of everything that needs to be done? So many decisions have to be made in so little time. The whole thing all happened so fast. It all just seemed so surreal.
It happened while he was at work. I received a phone call at 1:00 a.m. in the morning from Glen telling me to get to the hospital because David had been hurt. Of course I asked what happened but all Glen would say is just come to the hospital as soon as I can. So of course I went.
While driving from Grand Bay to the Regional Hospital millions of thoughts were going through my head about what could have happened to David. Did he fall and break a leg? Maybe break an arm? Did a heavy piece of equipment fall on top of him and crush his limbs? Did he fall off of a petroleum tank? OMG! Possible brain damage even?
Not once did the thought cross my mind that he could have possibly died!! Needless to say I barely remember the thirty minute drive in to the city that night…
I never did get the chance to say good bye to David because once I arrived at the hospital I was informed that he had already passed away. The cause of David’s death was cardiac arrhythmias which lead to a massive heart attack. In hindsight I understand why Glen didn’t tell me over the phone that David had passed on because I would never have made the drive to the hospital.
I am sure you have heard of the phrase “here one minute gone the next.” I can truly relate to this saying because that is exactly what happened to me.
I know each of us grieve in our own private way and after reading your book I can see that there are also many similarities we, as widows share. I must say your book has enlightened me. A huge thank you to you for writing this book!
I have moved forward with my life (though it hasn’t been easy) because time can’t possibly stand still for anyone, no matter who you are or where you come from or how much money you have. I witnessed friends and family moving on and so I must too. I didn’t want to end up sitting in a corner feeling sorry for myself so I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and put on a brave face and let everyone think that everything is fine.
I never wanted my daughters to see me cry so I would only cry when they weren’t home or late at night when I was in bed or when I was in the shower where the water drowned me out.
Meanwhile I am still coping. I am still learning. I am still healing. I don’t think we ever stop healing. The pain will remain with me until the day that I take my last breath.
I sold my house three years ago and bought a condo. I quit my previous job of 15 years and went back to school. I graduated with honors in Office Administration at the age of 50. I am currently working at a job that I can honestly say I love.
Mary, thank you again for writing a book full of wisdom, encouragement and hope so that widows such as myself, you and countless others can try to heal, understand, move forward, and relate to those who are going through the same thing.
Wishing you all the best.
Just wanted to let you know that I just read your book. I am a widow and it was very helpful. It's been 3 years and I am still grieving, but your book was very motivating for me, to try to get out of the house. I had tried a grievance course the first year and only went to 2 meetings. Now I am going again to this course and its helping me lots. Thank you for the wonderful book. God bless you Mary Francis. From another widow.
I’m anxious to order your book of “Sisterhood Widows”. I’ve lost my father suddenly at 48 years old & 7 years later my mother at 55 years old, suddenly. Later my husband at 48 years old and next year I will be 55.
Since than my two adult children have nothing to do with me for reasons I may never know. I was a devoted mother & wife who loved her family unconditional. I went crazy after my husbands death. I hit the bars 7 days a week (not that person) which was a quick fix. Probably dated too soon for fear of being alone, angry, faced fears of handling thing myself, finances, insecurities, emptiness, and a big void in my heart that still exists.
My children haven’t understood my loss. (They think they do) I was not myself for at least the first three years. But I have come a long way since then. I am hoping that this book will help and hopefully someone has a story like mine with a happy ending with their surviving children.
Hi Mary, My cousin thought of me the other day while reading your book “The Sisterhood of Widows”. She has lent me the book to read and so far this book has inspired me so much.
I am a widow and have been since 2007 (3 years). I was only 29 when I became a widow and never would of thought this would of happened to me. My husband and I had just given birth to beautiful twin girls in October 2006, and also had a 3 year old little girl. December of 2006 my husband was complaining of not feeling very well. I ended up taking him to the Emergency room on New Year’s Day and them telling us that nothing was wrong and to go home. He was in such pain that a week later he had taken himself to the Emergency room again, and like before they sent him home. Things were getting worse so that’s when I took things into my own hands and made him an appointment with my family doctor. He started booking him for tests of all sorts. It was not until March 22, 2007 that we finally got some answers. He had been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. On April 16 he started his first round of Chemo. He fought this awful disease until December 9, 2007 four days before our oldest daughters 4th birthday.
He was 36 years old and didn’t deserve to be taken away from his family at such a young age. It has been a rough road for me and my girls, but we are so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your book and hoping for it to help me with my loss. I will be putting it on my Christmas list this year because it will be one of those books that you will be able to read over and over and get something new out of it each time you read it. Thanks so much….
I have been a widow for more than 30 years. My husband died at the age of 47 of a massive heart attack and failure during the night of his 48th birthday.
In the morning I did go to my lessons, finished packing the car and set off for the cottage, I arrived to find a very quiet cottage. Usually on his birthday Pat would be out telling the world that he was here and that it was his birthday. My nurse friend Gigi was seated on the front step. She said there was not a sound from inside and she didn’t want to disturb Pat if he was sleeping. Very strange to me. So I went in. There was a card on the kitchen table from Joan but that was all. I looked around and there was Pat still in bed. It was a peaceful scene as the window over him was open and a soft breeze was blowing in. I charged in and demanded that he wake and get up as his birthday had arrived. He did not move. I touched him and found him very cold and very dead. I shouted at him as I was very cross and angry at him. How dare him do such a thing. I pressed on his chest and blood rippled from his lips. I began to cry and yell for someone to come quick. My friend Gigi came in, Mary came over but couldn’t look at Pat or at me.
Everyone wanted me to leave but I wanted to stay near Pat. I did just that and I cradled him in my arms until the ambulance men arrived. There was no calming me. Aunt Ryan grieved for me more than herself as she believed I was too young ( 46) to be a widow. Little did she know that I was a widow then and have remained a widow all these years.
All of these years I have felt deep compassion and love for other women who have become widows for one reason or another. I attended grief support groups but I could have given them better than the person who was speaking. So I did nothing about all of the widows I knew and cared for. Then after all these years I read about a brave young widow who knew what to do and who did something about it. She wrote a book “The Sisterhood of Widows”.
I searched until I found this person and I immediately decided to have a “Widow’s Pot Luck Supper”. Mary Francis was happy to hear from me and happy to collaborate on the idea and the date was set when she came to be our special guest. I was so happy to meet her. By 6 PM there were more than 30 anxious widows here to meet and greet her. Those who attended and meet Mary were thrilled and so appreciated her message and her many stories. Many of those who attended and more of those who couldn’t come have asked for another gathering to be set up.
This is a good sign and perhaps in the not too distant future we will have another “Widows Pot Luck” and talk of the support we can give each other and assist in the healing that comes from knowing that we are not alone.