Reviewed by Java Davis for Readers' Favorite
Widowed: Moving Through the Pain of Widowhood to Find Meaning and Purpose in Your Life Again by Joann Filomena is a short book, and I expected to finish reading it in just a few hours. Instead, I found myself needing a day to digest each chapter. The book is a self-help book for new widows, and it’s beautiful. The author tells her own story of falling in love with a man sixteen years her senior. Despite the age difference, his sudden death was a shock. Joann Filomena uses the acronym WIDOWED as a mnemonic for the basics that every widow should heed. I won’t quote the list here, but it’s a good idea to check it out. Although widowers are mentioned briefly, the anticipated audience is women, widows.
In Widowed, Joann Filomena covers such a wide range. She wants to free widows from feeling guilty about things that happened in the marriage, or feeling that family and friends think she should be over it sooner than she feels. She even gives widows a free pass to dance naked in the kitchen, or to continue talking to the spouse, without feeling crazy. Although the author explains the path of her own widowhood, she is very clear about each woman going through her own grieving in her own time and space. She clarifies that people can compartmentalize their feelings. One can feel grief and joy at the same time, and one feeling does not cancel out another. When it’s time to create a new life, it’s okay to love new friends, from a widows’ support group for example, learn a new hobby, even change careers, as the author did. She explains that it’s natural to lose some friends, too, and that it’s probably nothing personal. They just don’t know how to relate. Some people, trying to comfort a widow, will tell her to “move on.” It’s okay to get angry at someone trying to give stupid advice, but it’s wiser to give this person credit for the attempt at comfort.
During the process of recovering from the trauma of her husband’s death, the author discovered that she hated her job. She became certified as a life coach, wishing to help other widows through the maze of life changes, including charitable donations of their husbands’ things, assessing what is working in their lives and what is not, and all the rest that comes with a new life. She does a bit of shameless plugging of her services and her website, and she acknowledges that this is an aside. But recommending that one hire a life coach still sounds like a pretty good idea if someone needs help moving forward. Widowed is written in a no-nonsense fashion, with honesty and humor. I think it would be a helpful book.