A Widow’s Awakening
The book, A Widow’s Awakening, written by Maryanne Pope, is a delightful yet poignant piece of non-fiction literature. As the novel begins, the reader easily become attached to the two main characters, the author and her husband. In describing their last vacation and events leading up to her husband’s death, the reader also gets a glimpse of the quirky ways in which the two interacted, the daily life challenges of the couple and the immense amount of love between them. If you have experienced a primary loss yourself, the description of her husband’s death and the days following it can be triggering to read. The details and related emotions realistically reflect those intense moments most would indeed dread, let alone voluntarily recall if experienced.
Part of what makes this book a source of validation for those who have gone through grief is how the author focuses on a variety of themes which often surface after loss. The following are but a few of these themes of significance.
Religion and Meaning
The author describes her attempts to understand the unique religious rituals of her husband’s family. Throughout the book, she wrestles with her beliefs of what may have happened to her husband after death, the meaning of his death, and what she ultimately believes about religion. Her desire to find meaning after loss resonates. She contemplates her future, her career goals, her life purpose, and her desire for connection. As she actively searches for these answers over the course of the book, the reader is able to observe the profound ripple effect left by the death of her husband.
The Role of Food
Another significant theme in the book is food and weight. With most encounters with others after her husband’s death, the author mentions the amount of food involved. Friends and loved ones constantly offer her food. She mentions her awareness of eating more during that time and acknowledges food as being one source of comfort. With the increase in consumption, she notes a proportionate adjustment to her weight. The role of food in grief is universal and the author tackles the topic with much humor and awareness.
Transitioning to the Future
In the third section of the book, the author recounts her travels away from home and out of the country. Filled with many amusing anecdotes, her trip allows her to better focus on her writing goals. This is a common experience for those in grief. Taking a break from the grief and the everyday reminders can have an incredibly healing effect. A delightful piece of information the reader learns is how the author developed the name for her publishing company, Pink Gazelle Productions, Inc.
A Widow’s Awakening is the story of how one woman suffers the death of her husband and works to put the pieces of her life back together. The author is able to capture down to minute details the steps along her journey. Her writing style, by itself, is a demonstration of how the grieving mind struggles with focus during those early days and months of grief. She conveys all of this with a sense of humor reflective of the strength she possesses and which helped her through this time in her life. I recommend this book especially for those who have lost a partner. The book validates the experiences of this type of grief. In addition, it is an enjoyable read for anyone interested in an exceptionally honest story of perseverance.