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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Not a day goes by in our world that spouses and families don’t lose loved ones through death. It’s a part of life. But when death comes suddenly, unexpectedly, and in some situations as the one depicted in A Widow’s Awakening, it leaves us reeling. It’s that much harder to believe, accept and move on, and it is this trauma to the survivor’s psyche that Maryanne Pope has captured so well, and so thoroughly in her memoir, A Widow’s Awakening.
Maryanne’s husband, Police Officer John Petropoulos, at only 32 years of age, died from a massive brain injury when he fell through the false floor of a building. He had responded to a robbery call, except, as was later determined, there had been no robbery but faulty building alarms going off. His tragic ending should never have happened, making his death that much more unacceptable. Writing A Widow’s Awakening was the author’s journey toward healing from her loss of her husband, lover and, as she truly saw him, her soulmate.
The way in which Maryanne Pope has chosen to tell her story is refreshingly different from most memoirs. She opens her memoir walking herself and her readers through the last vacation Maryanne and John took together, visiting the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Disneyland and more, wearing themselves out like two children and loving every moment of it. While this gets A Widow’s Awakening off to a slow start, thanks to Pope’s marvellous ability to reveal both characters through dialogue and action, it moves along nicely. Most readers will relate to the banter and cavorting between the happy soulmates, and like Maryanne, they will be unprepared for the tragedy that changes their lives in the blink of an eye. Sadly, as John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”
Twenty percent of the proceeds from the sale of A Widow’s Awakening are donated to the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund set up to raise awareness about workplace safety issues facing emergency responders. It’s probably safe to say that A Widow’s Awakening has a very broad audience as Maryanne’s creative non-fiction book will speak to thousands whose spouses have lost their lives suddenly while on the job of protecting society. Bravo, Maryanne Pope, for writing A Widow’s Awakening for the many others who have suffered similar loss and grief.