Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything
Jen Hurley Klee on life after the death of her husband, Matt:
“How are you doing?” is such a difficult question for me to answer … “a beautiful mess” seems like the most appropriate response. Yes, I am living my life – but everywhere I go, there is a huge piece of me that is missing. It feels as though I am two miles into an uphill marathon that will never end – and just because I keep moving forward, it does not mean that any of this has gotten any easier. I’m just moving forward because it’s the only way I know how to go.
Elizabeth Alexander on life after the death of her husband, Ficre:
We’re alive. Life goes on. My children are healthy and happy and fulfilled. As am I. We all have our work to do. They have their schoolwork to do. They have college ahead of them. This is what their father would have wanted. This is how we built them to live rich and useful and beautiful lives. So my job was to carry that forward. Not in a way that says we are not grieving or shut that feeling down. But that says we are alive and we walk forward.
Connect – learn – be inspired – heal – walk forward with us
Some of our favorite resources on losing a spouse or significant other:
- The Light of the World – Elizabeth Alexander’s poetic memoir about the death of her husband, Ficre and the aftermath
- About Alice – Calvin Trillin’s moving tribute to his wife Alice
- Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living – Nancy Sharp’s beautiful memoir of her husband’s illness and death and how she forged a new life for herself and her children in the wake of her husband’s death
- The Widower’s Notebook – After the unexpected death of his wife, Joy, widower Jonathan Santlofer is consumed with grief. He struggles to admit his deep feelings of loss to anyone, including himself. Through words and drawings, he paints a picture of Joy, their marriage and what loss is like.
- The Smallest Lights in the Universe – Sara Seager has always been in love with the stars. Now a pioneering planetary scientist, she searches for exoplanets but with the unexpected death of her 40-year-old husband, she is a widow and the single mother of two young boys. For the first time, she feels alone in the universe.
- What Forty Steps Taught Me About Love and Grief – Actress Tembi Locke’s TED talk about caring for her now deceased husband and how grief transforms
- Living With Grief: A Conversation Between Men – Liam Neeson and Anderson Cooper talk about the death of Neeson’s wife, Natasha Richardson. “She always packed so much into every day … maybe she knew she wasn’t destined to be on this earth for a long time.”
- Uncoupled: Dealing with the Death of a Spouse – A powerful video in which four bereaved spouses speak about their loss, the early days after their spouses’ deaths, what helped, what didn’t, how they adjusted to being single and how they “turned a page”.
- We don’t “move on” from grief. We move forward with it. — Nora McInerny’s TED talk about living on after the death of her husband and her father and a pregnancy loss.
- “Devastated Disney Animator Illustrates Life With Children After Wife Dies” – Gary Andrews’ wife, Joy, died at the age of 41 from sepsis, leaving him to parent their two daughters alone. Beginning the day after Joy died, Gary has created a doodle a day capturing the sadness and joy in his daily life without his soulmate. Follow Gary on Twitter to see his daily doodles.
- “Dear Therapist: Will I Ever Get Over My Wife’s Death?” — “We were married for 47 years, and I can’t picture life without her.”
- “Unpacking That Last Box” – A beautiful, heartbreaking account of how Li Yin learns that she doesn’t need to cling to her boyfriend George’s belongings in order to stay close to him.
- “The condolences end. Being a widow doesn’t.” — “The second year without my husband is in some ways harder than the first.”
- “Your Threads Have Come Undone: A Letter to a Grieving Husband” – Author Kao Kaila Yang offers solace to a grieving stranger who has lost his wife.
- Monday Hearts For Madalene – Page Hodel fell in love instantly with Madalene Rodriguez. Soon after, she began making hearts out of items she found in nature and in shops in her neighborhood. Every Sunday night, Page would leave a new heart for Madelene to find on Monday morning. Sadly, after being together for less than a year, Madalene died of ovarian cancer. Visit Page’s website to see all 481 of her beautiful creations.
GORGEOUS MEMOIRS BY TERMINALLY ILL SPOUSES
- No Cure For Being Human – Kate Bowler believed that life was a series of unlimited choices, until she discovered at the age of 35 that her body was wracked with cancer. In No Cure for Being Human, she searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of today’s “best life now” advice industry.
- When Breath Becomes Air – What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals, flattens out? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as yours fades away? These are some of the questions Paul Kalanithi wrestles with in his profoundly moving memoir.
- The Bright Hour – “We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.” Nina Riggs was only 37-years-old when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Her memoir explores the questions of how someone learns to live each day unattached to the outcome, how a young mother prepares her children and husband for her eventual death, how she wants to be remembered.
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