In this slim volume—part memoir, part self-help book—a widow navigates her way through the stages of grief.
Debut author Gould, a psychologist, is accustomed to helping her clients deal with bereavement and loss, but she was blindsided by her own husband’s sudden death in 1999. She turned to journaling to express and relieve her pain and eventually realized that her insights could help serve as a guide for other women coping with loss. The project took 10 years to manifest into eight chapters of memoirs, diary entries, occasional poetry and gently couched lessons—an emotionally charged account of one woman’s journey through personal tragedy. Although readers may sometimes find the author’s account of heartbreak fatiguing, her spiritual and psychological inquiries provide an uplifting balance. She delves into the process of grief, and also into the traps that many women fall into when they marry: dependence on a husband for an identity and happiness, and an ignorance of legal matters. Gould’s perceptive prose reflects her talent for lyricism (“I am furrowed and softened: a place of fertility for seeds to grow, and I am the farmer offering fields for grazing and growth.”). Each chapter ends with a suggestion (“Dear Reader”) that encourages the reader to follow her own path through grief, to create daily outlets for expression and allow a new self to emerge. The author lets readers experience her bright and dark days as she shows how the grieving process can be an emotional roller coaster before one attains a state of grace.
A study of grief and empowerment sure to be useful to widows seeking an empathetic guide.