A COMPANION GUIDE FOR THE WIDOW/ER'S JOURNEY
I consider marriage to be Act I of our lives. This marriage, which began with vows to “love until death do us part”, was the core of our life. It gave structure to our home, to our family, and to our relationships in the community. When a spouse dies, the very foundation upon which we built our lives is shaken.
The ensuing time is one of intermission. This is a dark time, filled with a wide range of emotions. It may be shock when the death was unexpected. For others, after a prolonged illness, there may be some relief. For some, there might be anger, or guilt, or disappointment that dreams went unfulfilled. There may be anxiety about how to function independently. For most, there’s sadness. There is sadness that hopes and dreams won’t come true, and there is sadness for what has been lost. Each person grieves in a unique way, based on the quality and style of the relationship with their spouse, and based on their personality and culture. For those who are grieving, there are support groups available in local communities.
But there comes a time in the grieving process, the “intermission”, when we perceive a light flickering in the darkness. We start to perceive a spring in our step again, and our energy level starts to return to normal. When you see that light flicker, you know it’s time to go back in for Act II. The problem is, we never planned for an Act II. In other aspects of our lives, such as parenting or career choice, we had years of joyful planning and the mentorship of so many. But there has been no joyful anticipation for this stage of life. We’ve done little to prepare ourselves for this major life change. In many ways, the loneliness of this stage compounds the problems. But you are not alone. There are 5 million Americans widowed every year. This magazine will be a way to connect with each other and to learn together how to live well despite disappointment.
This magazine is about Act II. Act II honors and remembers the marriage, and many themes will continue. Each issue will spotlight a widow or widower who has in some way honored the memory of his or her late spouse. But Act II will also help readers explore the question of, “What next?” Each issue will highlight a person who has gone on to live a meaningful and joyful life after being widowed. Other regular features will address finances, family matters, nutrition. There will be articles on safety, housing, how to work with an appraiser/auctioneer, practical concerns, book reviews, travel, return to work, friendship, emotional well being, health, and spirituality. There will be articles on decisions concerning return to dating.
I invite your feedback, and your suggestions for topics. Please introduce me to someone you think is living well, so that he or she may be the subject of an article.
I look forward to journeying with you,
Joanne Moore, Publisher