Recently, some friends and I attended an author talk by Becky Aikman about her debut book, Saturday Night Widows. Her husband had died after losing a protracted battle with cancer, leaving her a widow in her late forties. Aikman, formerly a journalist with Newsday, shared that she had been “kicked out” of her bereavement group for suggesting going on positive outings and rejecting Elisabeth Kubler-Ross‘s five stages of grief which shaped the meetings.
So the self-described “unsentimental journalist” sought out younger, more adventuresome widows unknown to one another to form her group of six. Next came a year-long quest for comprehension of the grief into which each had been catapulted. Monthly Saturday night meetings expanded into a spa weekend, lingerie shopping and a trip to Morocco. Aikman described their gatherings as incendiary; her later tape transcriptions were difficult due to everyone having spoken at once.
One meeting included a group of widowers. When asked what they thought of the definition of “widower,” they replied that they saw highly eligible men who had been successful in marriage. As to what “widow” meant to them, however, they responded “old … and used.” I imagine that the book will dispute this.
Another perspective was shared at the author talk by Tara, whose husband died of alcoholism. The book chronicles how good friends, as they became, may uplift and inspire creative solutions to the tragedy of spousal loss. I look forward to reading it and discovering each of their journeys out of darkness.