How do older women come to terms with widowhood? Are they vulnerable or courageous, predictable or creative in dealing with this life challenge? Whilst most books about widows usually focus on younger women; this book interweaves the voices of older women -- their experiences and insights -- to show how they have come to terms with widowhood and have recreated their lives in new, unsuspected ways. The widows speak about how they relate to their children, their friends, to men. With powerful emotions they describe their husbands' final illnesses and deaths, and the challenging early days of widowhood. Disputing stereotypes about older women and widows, The Widowed Self allows the reader to visualize the impact of losing one's partner and offers a new way of thinking about widowhood. This book fills a void in previous work on widowhood. Rather than seeing these women as unfortunate, passive victims of life, the reader will come to appreciate the strength and creativity with which these women face one of life's greatest challenges, a challenge that affects more than half of all women over the age of sixty-five.
Deborah Kestin van den Hoonaard is an Associate Professor of Gerontology at St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick.