WIDOWED by Brothers Joyce


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Here, celebrity psychologist Brothers (The Successful Woman, 1988, etc.) recounts her devastating grief and loneliness and her gradual emotional recovery following the death of her beloved husband after a long bout with cancer. At first, Brothers was totally numb. On emotional autopilot, she immediately called The New York Times to provide details for Milt's obituary. But after the funeral she spent a half year in ""one long wail of grief,"" plunging into ""storms of tears"" triggered by memories of happier times with Milt. She became so self-absorbed that she ignored her daughter's grief. Amazingly, Brothers kept up with her syndicated column, radio broadcasts, lectures, and TV appearances. But her nights were lonely. Although she had ""hundreds of acquaintances,"" she had no friends. Career, marriage, and motherhood had taken all her time. She believes that her ""golden life. . .full of love and happiness. . ."" had not prepared her for the shocks of widowhood, which, she contends, are better handled by those ""who have been buffeted by the storms of life."" Although she undertook this book as a form of therapy, it ranges well beyond her own story, replicating much research by others on bereavement--though most of this is old hat: The stages of grief, the do's and don't's of early mourning (no hasty major decisions; get out of the house, etc.). By book's end, Brothers is ""looking to the future instead of the past,"" extending the hand of friendship to other people, and contemplating doing more public-service work. More trenchant than fellow-celeb Virginia Graham's frothy Life After Harry (1988), but cutting nowhere near as close to the bone as some recent works, including Xenia Rose's Widow's Journey, reviewed below.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster