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Becoming a widow is one of the most traumatic life events that a woman can experience. Yet, as this remarkable new collection reveals, each woman responds to that trauma differently. Here, forty-three widows tell their stories, in their own words.
Some were widowed young, while others were married for decades. Some cared for their late partners through long terminal illnesses, while others lost their partners suddenly. Some had male partners, while others had female partners. Yet each of these women faced the same basic dilemma: how to go on living when a part of you is gone.
Widows’ Words is arranged chronologically, starting with stories of women preparing for their partners’ deaths, followed by the experiences of recent widows still reeling from their fresh loss, and culminating in the accounts of women who lost their partners many years ago but still experience waves of grief. Their accounts deal honestly with feelings of pain, sorrow, and despair, and yet there are also powerful expressions of strength, hope, and even joy. Whether you are a widow yourself or have simply experienced loss, you will be sure to find something moving and profound in these diverse tales of mourning, remembrance, and resilience.
About the Author
Nan Bauer-Maglin worked at City University of New York for almost forty years as a professor and administrator. She now volunteers for Girls Write Now and The Whitney Museum. She is the editor or coeditor of many books, including Cut Loose: (Mostly) Older Women Talk about the End of (Mostly) Long-term Relationships.
“Women have learned to find fortitude in sharing the truth of their lives - not because we have the same truth, but because we find community and support there. The stories in this honest and loving book will give strength to those experiencing widowhood and wisdom to those trying to help them build the rest of their lives.”
— Suzanne Braun Levine
“Widows’ Words is an invaluable tool for understanding loss, mourning and grief, and an equally fascinating and compelling read with diverse and varied points of views, which proved to me that every loss is unique yet universal. Nan Bauer-Maglin has brought together many strong female voices that both define and redefine the concept of 'widow.'"
— Jonathan Santlofer
“This collection is a comforting, necessary companion for the many, many women whose love outlasts their partners' lives. The stories are honest, unsentimental and as complicated and varied as marriages themselves.”
— Anna Sale
"This heartfelt collection should help widows, and widowers as well, feel less alone as they move through a wrenching transition."
— Publishers Weekly
"Expertly compiled and deftly edited by Nan Bauer-Maglin, "Widows' Words: Women Write on the Experience of Grief, the First Year, the Long Haul, and Everything in Between" is a unique and very highly recommended addition to both community and academic library collections."
— Midwest Book Review
"Gentle, wry humor and strong advice that feels like it’s offered in a warm blanket and a hug. It all makes Widows’ Words a great reference and good comfort even though, for the newly bereaved, it can’t begin to cover everything."