Grief is Complicated

I’m reading a book written my a male doctor about widows and their grief.

This doctor did a study and stated some facts as follows (in his words)

  • Four out of ten of the widows I studied had idealized their husbands.
  • Almost one out of three of the widows I studied felt they were stunted during their marriages.
  • Half of the women I studied stated that they had major regrets about some aspects of their lives.
  • When I interviewed the young widows a year later, they showed a marked recovery.  In fact, they were feeling better, on the whole, than the older widows.
  • While younger women initially do have more difficulty coping, their grief seldom persisted for years, as did the grief of some of the older women.
  • “Average Grievers” are widows who showed high levels of grief in the period directly following the death, but demonstrated little or very mild grief one year later.

While I enjoy reading different points of views and I’m sure this male doctor did a good study, I’m not in total agreement with all his findings.  For one thing I’m not sure a married, male doctor can really relate to widows as grief is complicated and “average grievers demonstrated little or very mild grief one year later” just does not match what I know from personal experience.

What do you think of his findings?


  1. Valeria
    | Reply

    I find his ‘findings’ archaic and more than a bit chauvinistic.

    I can’t speak for other widows, but I can speak for myself: I do NOT {idolize} my husband – my husband was King in my life because he treated me like a Queen: from the first time we met, and it only got better the longer we were together – 44 years of marriage. I speak highly of him because he was a good man; I don’t have to “add” to his character. Everyone who knew my Bob will back this up.

    I never felt ‘stunted’ in my marriage: Bob loved me, and he gave me total freedom. Bob never stepped on me – and because he always gave me freedom … I never strayed too far from the grass on our side of the fence. Our grass was pretty damned good 😉 Bob treated me as an equal in our marriage. Always.

    I don;t know the women this man interviewed, but speaking strictly for myself, I can state truthfully, that having fallen in love with my husband at 10 years of age … and marrying him when I was 17 … I have NEVER regretted anything about our life together. I only regret that it ended.

    Younger widows probably do “feel better on the whole” and probably did show ‘marked recover’ – they hadn’t been married as long; and they could always remarry if they choose. Older widows, such as myself, loved a lot longer … and have no interest at all in filling their husband’s shoes. An older widow’s needs are not the same as a younger widows needs. Not dogging anybody – just being truthful. MPO

    Concerning the grief differences between younger and older widows – I don’t know. But I do know this: grief is grief; young or old. And ALL grievers have “a hard time coping”. Also, as stated in the previous paragraph, younger widows probably do rebound quicker and probably do show ‘marked recovery’ – they hadn’t been married as long; and they could always remarry if they choose – possibly even have children. This option is no longer available to older widows – and their children have moved on; possibly even to other States or countries. So, yes, it IS different. MPO

    There are NO “average grievers”.

    Personally, I think the “doctors” needs to be schooled on realities and stop delving into hypothesis. MPO

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