Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Despite its frequency, widowhood is an under-discussed topic. Here are recommended readings for your bookshelf, including A Widow’s Cry and Young Widower.

Widowhood is natural. Love may last forever, but relationships cannot. Practically speaking. Someone in the relationship inevitably has to leave, whether it be their choice or not. Maybe humanity can find a solution for immortality in the far future, but for now, such is the way things have to go. With widowhood comes a great deal of emotional pain and stress. Losing someone who you have opened up to and poured your heart out is devastating. Moving on could take multiple years or never at all. Some might even grow numb to romantic love and never even try to find happiness elsewhere. Such is the tragedy of widowhood. 

For most marriages, divorce is the end, while widowhood is more uncommon. Both may be the result of marriages, but the two are vastly different. Firstly, a divorce occurs through mutual agreement and is more of a legal undertaking than anything else. Widowhood, on the other hand, is rarely a deliberated event (unless you consume only telenovelas, of course, where widows have more agency with their status). 

A divorce can be for a variety of reasons, e.g., marriage troubles, closure, financial considerations, etc., but widowhood can only be because of death. Divorce is sometimes a phase of a longer relationship, and there might be reconciliation in the future, but widowhood is something that stays with the bereaved party for years to come. Death is oftentimes the end of a loving relationship. Despite how long people may stay together, nature, sadly, has other plans. 

Four Books That Touch Upon Living with Widowhood

The most compelling reason why widowhood is a rarely discussed topic is that there is a drought of information and depictions of it. Widowhood is not in any way a dark topic to talk about, but neither is it something that people gather to discuss. Yet, that is only because of contemporary societal biases, not something inherent in widowhood. That is why this article has four recommendations for reading on the topic of widowhood:

Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies by Alan D. Wolfelt

This handy guide from professional grief counselor Alan D. Wolfelt is for widows and widowers to learn how to deal with the loss and grief of having their lover and partner in life pass away.

Although the intended audiences are the widows and the widowers, Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart holds a great deal of information for non-widows as well, helping them learn more about the trials and emotions that follow losing a spouse or partner. It also portrays the many ways people of different genders and orientations deal with loss.

The Widowed Self: The Older Woman’s Journey through Widowhood by Deborah Kestin van den Hoonaard

Deborah Kestin van den Hoonaard portrays another aspect of widowhood that is never depicted in any news story or medium. In the collective subconscious, people think of widows as old, grieving women who continue living because of the memory of their dead husbands—but that is not the case for every widow. There is vitality and creativity that springs forth from loss, and most women choose not to wallow in misery and try to make sense of and commandeer their lives.

The Widowed Self is a beautiful tribute to widowhood and the life one can create despite it.

Young Widower: A Memoir by John W. Evans

Statistically, the ones who experience widowhood the most are women, but that does not mean that the voices of widowers are inconsequential or worth ignoring. This heartfelt memoir by John W. Evans gives readers an intimate and emotional look at how widowed men deal with losing a partner and continue on with living in a way that honors their memory.

A Young Widower is a must-read for anyone wanting to know how to cope with loss.

A Widow’s Cry by Jamie Pulos-Fry

For faithful believers, this item is a must-have on your bookshelf. A Widow’s Cry by Jamie Pulos-Fry is about knowing how to bring together the resources and people of your church to care for the widows in your community collectively through widow ministries. This book is a good resource for learning how religious communities can come together to help the most vulnerable of their group.