After my husband died, and the friends and family all went home or back to work, I was on my own to figure out how to be a widow. I wanted to find a book, the one that tells you what to do after your husband dies and how to deal with grief. Here are a few of the books that helped me move forward and not feel so alone in my grief journey.
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- HEALING AFTER LOSS: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief
By Martha Whitmore Hickman
If you only get one book, this should be it. Each day has a one page inspiring story and mediation to think about. The passages are easy to read in under five minutes, which is a blessing for those of us dealing with the lack of concentration that comes with intense grief. The passages contain deep, thought provoking, yet hopeful reflections for those suffering from devastating loss.
2. IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE NOT OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
By Megan Devine
The title tells it all. We don’t need to fix or solve grief. It’s not something to get over. Megan writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” She offers a guide through stories and her experience as a widow and therapist to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.
3. THE LIGHT BETWEEN US: Stories from Heaven. Lessons for the Living.
By Laura Lynne Jackson
I was truly obsessed with the thought of what happens after we die. Convinced that there must be more to life, I found this book and it gave me hope that our loved ones are still with us. Laura is a certified medium with the Forever Family Foundation. She shares her life story and her work that has brought comfort to many families. After reading this book I spent a healing weekend at a grief retreat with this foundation which you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.blog/2017/03/22/why-reaching-out-to-psychic-mediums-in-grief-can-be-comforting/
4. SIGNS OF LIFE: A Memoir
By Natalie Taylor
After my husband died I went to the local library to get a book that would tell me how to be a widow. This was one of the only 3 books on the shelf so I borrowed it and was actually able to read the whole thing, not an easy task for a new widow since attention span is limited. Natalie, an English teacher, was pregnant and 24 years old when her husband unexpectedly died. She writes an account of the first 16 months as a widow and basically journals her feelings and experiences. Knowing that someone else had been through what I was going through helped me feel not so alone during those first few months.
5. CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIOCRE WIDOW: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity
By Catherine Tidd
Catherine tells about her husband’s sudden death that left her with 3 young children at the age of 31. The imperfect thoughts and actions she encounters as she wades through grief. Her experiences with single parenting and dating are fun to read and her book keeps it real and at times, even makes you laugh.
6. HEALTHY HEALING: A Guide to Working Out Grief Using the Power of Exercise and Endorphins
By Michele Steinke-Baumgard
Michele is such an inspiration to the widowed community. She lost her husband suddenly in a plane crash when her children were little. Starting a blog called One Fit Widow, she focused on her healing after loss with exercise. She has since married and blended families and continues to inspire people with her exercise programs, healthy eating and small group adventure trips around the world.
7. FIGHTING FORWARD: A Widow’s Journey from Loss to Life
By Jan J. Owen
After the loss of my husband I joined several Facebook pages for widows and met Jan. She inspired me as we are similar in age and experience. After her husband died, she married again and also went back to school for a degree in counseling. Her book was helpful as I could relate to her journey and her ability to move forward after loss.
8. SIGNS: The Secret Language of the Universe
By Laura Lynn Jackson
After reading her first book and seeing her speak on several occasions I was excited to read her newest book. She is a psychic medium who teaches us in this book how to recognize and ask for messages from loved ones on the Other Side. After hearing her speak at a local book store and learning how to reach out to my loved ones on the other side, I had a startling experience you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.blog/2019/06/22/signs-from-beyond/
9. A WIDOWS GUIDE TO HEALING: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years
By Kristin Meekhof and James Windell
The author Kristin Meekhof lost her husband to cancer and shares with grieving widows what to expect in the first 5 years after loss. Dealing with finances, single parenting, working, this book gives guidance and then hope for a new future.
1O. I WASN’T READY TO SAY GOODBYE: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One
By Brook Noel and Pamela Blair
Understanding the difficulties that come with an unexpected death, the authors guide the reader through the first weeks of grieving to dealing with holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Helpful suggestions for navigating the grieving process and helping children cope with grief.
SHOUT OUT to a new books in 2022:
11. Different After You: Rediscovering Yourself and Healing after Grief and Trauma
By Michelle Neff Hernandez
Michele became a widow at 39 when her husband died suddenly while riding his bicycle. She took her trauma and grief to new levels as she interviewed hundreds of widows and created Camp Widow and Soaring Spirits International as support groups for widows. Her message to integrate your past and loss, with what you have gained to build a life you love.Different After You
By Kristin Divers Markey (me)
I became a widow after my husband’s sudden death in 2015 on the beach across the street from my house. Initially told he had a heart attack while walking to the bathroom, we became suspicious and hired a lawyer and private investigators to discover why no one was arrested when he was beaten to death. The book is a memoir and a detective story and written in the present tense to allow for the emotional journey to be realized by the reader as the author seeks justice and healing after the loss of her husband. (Click the link in the title to read chapter 1 free)
In addition to reading books, I joined several Facebook groups that can provide instant support and encouragement on the grief journey.
If you prefer to listen, podcasts are available to listen to while you walk that can also give some support.
I highly recommend joining a bereavement group through your local hospital, church or hospice community.