What Did You Do With Your Summer?

The question about one’s summer activities was often the “ice breaker” as we returned to school. Perhaps it was the exercise in a high school speech class or an elementary school language lesson. In adulthood, it’s a watercooler conversation or dozens of Facebook and Instagram posts.

My summer posting thread was a bit unique. There may be some professions that share my focus. There may be families wading their way through the same thing during these hot months. However, very few can share my statement. “I spent much of my summer studying and thinking about widows.”

Women In Black And White

Two friends and I are writing a book about being a widow. Therefore, I’ve spent many hours talking with widows, observing widows, and researching widows. I’ve spent time supporting widows.

I’ve talked to them in coffee shops, over lunch, on a tour in Italy. We’ve talked over the phone and in emails or through Facebook posts.

Although widows in the Euro-American traditions usually clad themselves in black, widows in Morocco wear white. Yet, there really is no distinct black or white to being widowed.

Through our experiences and our studies, my co-authors and I have evidence to the seemingly obvious fact that every widow’s experience is unique. While there are similarities, there are definitely differences. Those differences are mostly found in the range, extent and intensity of emotions and  experiences.

Supporting Widows

Through our book, we intend to support widows as they create and transition to their next life. We will also provide knowledgeable guidance to those who want and need to support a widow, especially during her first year of widowhood. But, support isn’t black and white either.

Search for the synonyms of the word “support” and you’ll find two dozen versions of the word. Support for a widow can mean you are: advocating, aiding, assisting, bearing, bolstering, bracing up, buoying up, bracing, caring for, carrying, championing, comforting, defending, encouraging, helping, holding, looking after, providing for, strengthening, subsidizing, supplementing, supporting, sustaining, or upholding.

You may perform multiple versions of that word and the ways in which you could to do so are diverse. We’re working on explaining them. Stay tuned. But, also stay aware of the unspoken needs of any widows in your life. Pay attention.

If you see nuances, if you have ideas, if you see a need, if you have something to share, please let me know. Email me at karen@karenjustice.us.

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In our nakedness, we are all merely accumulated layers.