Monday, April 27, 2009

My Widow Advice #10 Are Widows Contagious?

Dear Carol,

I am a group leader for a bereavement group and a follower of your blog. At first, I was skeptical and concerned about you giving advice to very vulnerable women and men. But you have proven yourself to be healing to widows and widowers.

They say laughter is the best medicine and I'm not a funny person. FYI - I am going to incorporate some of your writings into my format, either by me reading one aloud or passing a ditto (do they use that term anymore?) for a take home page.

I've been running groups for eleven years and have been a widow myself for seven and I know it shouldn't matter professionally, but I feel that I've become a far better leader/facilitator since I lost my husband.

For widows seeking a bereavement group please tell your readers to ask a potential group leader if she is a widow. The empathy will abound.

Thank you for doing such good work.

Ruth, Group Leader

Dear Ruth, Group Leader,

WOW (which is MOM upside down) I am very impressed with myself that you, a professional has given me the thumbs up. I normally don't mesh well with authority figures. I come from a long line of people with attitude problems and I'm a direct decedent of ancestors not living up
to their potential.

I certainly appreciate you taking the time to write to me. Thanks! Interesting that you feel you're a better facilitator since you've lost your husband. As you suggest, of course there is the empathy factor.

But you say to look for a bereavement leader who is a widow? I have yet to find one who is not a widow. I have a little theory about that.


My one-on-one shrink Mean Jean was widowed at 43. She used to say, "Just like the hair club commercial says, I'm not just the president but a member as well." Like you, Mean Jean wasn't funny, either. (no offense)

It occurred to me that at the time her husband died she was already running groups and in private practice. Harriet, my first group leader was a widow for four years. And, my second bereavement group leader became a widow five years ago smack in the middle of her practice.

Could there be something in the air that these shrinks breathe in and bring home to their unsuspecting husbands? I don't mean to make you feel guilty or anything, Ruth, but just being
a scientist here.

Most people become active with causes after they are personally affected. Right? Think about
John Walsh, the cute guy in the black leather jacket who kind of looks like Steve Wynn...anyway he started "America's Most Wanted" after his son Adam was abducted.

It's a natural cause and effect. Could Harriet, Mean Jean and Annie and you have affected the cause?

I wonder if I'm on to something. You must admit 4 out of 4 is pretty suspicious. I'm tempted to do a more extensive survey to uncover how many bereavement shrinks who lost their husbands were in close proximity to widows. Wait...Wouldn't that be 100%? I guess my research should include which ones did not lose their husbands. Yes. That's more like it.

Perhaps, Ruth, you'd like to join forces with me in this research project? Much is at stake. If this gets out we widows may be forced to wear a gigantic W when in public places.


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