MOVING ON: Overcoming the Crisis of Widowhood by Mary Ellen Reese

MOVING ON: Overcoming the Crisis of Widowhood

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Unfocused and lacking any new insights, this study--which concludes that widowhood should be ""not an end but a beginning""--is characterized chiefly by its sympathetic tone. Not a breezy ""get back into the swim"" effort (it barely touches on such subjects as dating and remarriage, and devotes only a few pages to children), it is primarily concerned with assuring the country's 12 million widows that ""aberrant"" behavior is ""normal"" within the context of the grief process. This it attempts to illustrate through first-person accounts of four widows' feelings--one who lost her husband in Vietnam when she was 23, one whose comfortable existence evaporated when her nuclear-physicist husband died of a stroke, etc. The four women are most remarkable for their blandness; though some of them responded near-heroically in picking up the pieces, descriptions of their physical pains, premonitions, resentments, and exhaustion fail to evoke the horror of the experience (""I would reach out for Arthur--and he wasn't there""). The author takes some stabs at defining steps in the grief process--she endorses Colin Murray Parkes' four categories (numbness, pining, depression, and recovery)--and she cites some differences between widowhood and divorce (least obvious: that widows do not suffer the same loss of self-esteem). Altogether a minor effort with muted effect.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1979
Publisher: Wyden--dist. by Simon & Schuster