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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful moving memoir that made me laugh and think, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives (Hardcover)
Becky Aikman's memoir is an amazing story of what recently widowed friends can achieve when they share the emotional peaks and valleys of transcending loss, dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves. "Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives" is about the monthly women's meetings over the course of a year and a far-flung adventure in North Africa's Morocco. In Fés, the group met Morrocan widows and later rode camels and camped in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Wondering about the old cliché "women mourn, men replace and feel less guilt" they also met with four men who, like them, become widowed in their 40's and 50's. Although they learned the men jumped into new affairs more quickly they, like the women, loved their deceased spouses no less. But, unlike the widows, they told the women their widowhood seem to signal they were good marriage material and they sometimes received "sympathy sex." They all agreed the word "widow" had negative connotations. However, the women were shocked and hurt when one man admitted the word "widow" brought to mind the words "old" and "used."
To understand her experience Becky consulted with experts on the latest research about grieving. She was relieved to learn that grieving is a process of finding comfort. It doesn't have to be painful all the time. Instead of rigid stages people oscillate between sadness and normality. Over time the swings become less frequent and extreme. It's not shameful but natural and helpful to crack up with laughter in some of the darkest moments. Humor, flexibility, bonds with family and friends and openness to new experiences are the strongest predictors of an eventual return to emotional equilibrium. She learned it's a misconception that grief is a paralyzing sadness that can last for years. Most people are resilient and cope with loss on their own.
Together the women learned to live past the worst thing they thought could happen, to count on each other, learn from each other's choices and discover they could be happy with one man while still pining for another who had gone. Becky said her healing came not from staying detached and looking inside herself for answers but through engaging with other people and the world. She found herself through action and the support of the Saturday night widow participants.
"Saturday Night Widows" is a thoughtful moving book that make me laugh and think.
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