Widow: A Survival Guide for the First Year
by Joanna Romer
MSI Press

"Of all the healing remedies I can recommend to a widow, travel has got to be at the top of the list."

When Joanna Romer lost Jack, her beloved husband of 16 years, she was devastated. Yet it was her own personal journey through widowhood that allowed her to write a notable self-help guide that would offer knowledge, experience, and insight for others facing a similar situation. Romer's Widow is a practical compendium that covers all the critical issues a newly widowed spouse will face. It's delivered with a four-part focus, highlighting concerns of being alone, becoming self-sufficient, enjoying life, and self-discovery. While Romer stresses the ability of grief to throw an individual into emotional and physical turmoil, the author is quick to offer smart advice and give positive suggestions for getting back on track.

Romer covers a variety of topics including the importance of tears in the healing process, self-nurturing, making lists to help you get through the days, staying active, planning trips, using prayer and meditation, and writing in a journal to release your inner feelings and to keep tabs on your progress. Here, the author generously includes several of her own journal entries. She also helps widows rise to the challenge of confronting other expected difficulties like clearing out your husband's closet, dealing with birthdays, holidays, and special memories, entering the workforce, money matters, sex and dating. The widow's rule of thumb, "don't make any major decisions the first year,, is keenly emphasized, along with the idea that grieving is always a personal journey and must be done at a widow's own pace.

Clearly the author writes from a heartfelt place. Her words stem not merely from a sympathetic point of view, but seem more suggestive of a desire to share wisdom. Romer writes "the value of friends and relatives in your recovery process cannot be measured." Ideally readers will come away from this work considering the author and her survival guide as significant new friends.

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