Monday, May 16, 2011

Four Really Good Books and One Special Friend

At the top of this blog is a tab for "Books By Widows & Widowers." It's a great resource, and I can say that because I can't take any credit for it! Thanks to an Internet friend, Candy, for giving these quick and valuable summaries to very helpful books!
I hope you can look them over and see Candy's recommendations for which ones to read if you're a new widow, or a widowed mom with kids at home, or if you've come a little further in your journey.

Also, here are some titles that will soon be included in the tab, but for today, we'll make them a special feature. If you've been helped by books that aren't yet mentioned here, please let me know so we can get them listed, too.
FROM ONE SINGLE MOTHER TO ANOTHER by Sandra P. Aldrich – This is an easy read book for a new widow especially. The author, who is a widow, doesn’t claim to have all the answers. She encourages widows to seek the Lord’s direction rather than give in to a desperate desire to be rescued. I especially loved that Sandra decided to tithe her life and give herself 10 years to learn more about the Lord and herself. She talks at length about dealing with loneliness and how to properly handle those natural sexual desires. At the end of each chapter she has a short summarized list of the important points in that chapter. This is helpful for widows in that “widow fog”. Sandra also talks about communicating and disciplining children and teens during life without a father. There are also good chapters on finances, how to sell and buy things, and how to deal with well-meaning relatives. An excellent book!
(Sandra was my guest in March! Click here to read the interview.)-fbh

WILL I EVER BE WHOLE AGAIN by Sandra P. Aldrich – This is another excellent easy to read book especially for a new widow. It was the first time I found an author who said that anticipatory grief begins as soon as the diagnosis is given. The first two chapters are Sandra’s story of their 16 month battle with brain cancer. The rest of the chapters deal with the principles of grief that will not only help a widow understand her own pain, but will teach her how to help others who are experiencing grief. This is also the first time a widow has written that there are times when a widow needs to say “I’m sorry but I can’t deal with that situation yet” or “I can’t solve that problem for you; I’m still hurting”. There is an excellent chapter on how to talk to children about death and grief. Sandra also talks about how to deal with the grief of a miscarriage, abortion, or the death of a child. One of Sandra’s friends said something to her concerning her guilt about not being in the room with her husband as he died that was helpful to me – “You didn’t abandon him. You got out of the way so that those who knew what to do could help.” Concerning the question most widows have of “Why aren’t You talking to me, Lord?!” the author gives her own answer of “Because I am too hurt to listen to His plans for the future. I am capable of receiving only His comfort for this moment. In time He will ease me off His lap and tenderly lead me to the tasks he planned. His silence doesn’t mean He stopped caring.” Sandra also says that if you had a good marriage, you have received more love than most people. It helps to think on that instead of what you have lost. Excellent book!

WHEN YOUR SOUL ACHES by Lois Mowday Rabey (a widow who remarried) – Lois and her two very young daughters purchased a ride for her husband in a hot air balloon and invited 2 of his closest friends to go along. Minutes after the balloon was in the air, it caught on fire. All 3 men lost their lives. The best advice this author was given was to slow down and wait on God to give her direction. She writes, “I think the best way to release the torturing mental images of a loved one’s last moments is to remember that they were also recipients of supernatural grace that carried them from this world to the next." She also writes that many of us think that God’s peace means the absence of pain in our lives and that we believe that if we can do just enough of the right spiritual things, we can find comfort and no longer feel the pain of loss. This is not true. Lois shares that all of the pain doesn’t go away, but it lessens and peace increases. “No, pain doesn’t completely go away this side of heaven, so there’s no point in trying to run from it. Accept it and ask God to touch those deeply painful places of your soul with His love.” Lois talks about all those “if onlys” that widows go over and over in their minds. She also gives a wonderful resource for widows called Royal Treasure that offers information and seminars to educate women on financial matters with a specific emphasis on women who are making these decisions alone. Lois poses the question, “Could it be that God, too, knows how it feels to lose the one closest to you?” Great book that is easy to read and understand!

I LOST MY HUSBAND, NOT MY MIND! By Kathy Sheppard – Kathy lost her husband, mother, and father all in one year and found herself alone for the very first time in her life after 33 years of marriage. She found that she wrestled, ignored, cried, and yelled at grief and came close to giving up. Kathy talks about the importance of having other widows in your life to share things with and talk to. Only another widow truly knows and understands what you are going through. She shares, “Crying is a way of life – at night, in the morning, in the shower, in the car, in the office. Crying is as easy and natural as breathing or walking.” She tells how she was afraid she had failed in the crisis areas of her life – that she felt like God was piling it on her and she was stumbling and at the point of breaking. This book is the most special to me because I lost my husband, mother and father all within 4 months’ time. It gives me hope that I, too, will make it through this very difficult grief journey that I am on.

* * *
Who's Candy, you may ask?
Well, let me tell you a bit about her!

Candy, surrounded by
her daughters!

She was born in an Air Force Base hospital in Panama City, FL, and grew up in her parents' home town in South Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. At age 17, her family moved to Three Hills, Alberta, Canada where she graduated from Prairie High School and attended 1 year of Prairie Bible Institute. She went to Indiana for her 2nd year of Bible school, and that's where she first met Bob. She says, "We met as work scholarship students in August, were engaged by December and married in June." Together they had 4 daughters who are all married and love our Lord. Candy now has 6 grandchildren on earth and one in heaven with her husband.

Twenty years ago she became very ill with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (also known as CFS or CFIDS). Throughout battling this illness, Bob was her picture of Christ's unconditional love on earth. Then, six and a half years ago, Bob received a terminal diagnosis and decided to go to a Naturopathic doctor. He did great until the last 5 months of his life. He went to heaven suddenly and unexpectedly on Nov. 10th, 2009. She says, "I continue to be challenged with CFS and am finding that being a widow home alone is very, very hard."

As she mentioned in reviewing "I Lost My Husband, Not My Mind," within four months of her husband's death, both her mother and father died, too. So she has known many of life's sorrows and complications in a very short time. I hope you'll benefit from her book reviews. Why not drop her a line in the comment box or join my Lifeboat Facebook group so you can get acquainted or share an encouraging word? I'm sure it'd mean a lot to her.
I pray you'll see and experience God's love and care for you this week. Please pray for me, OK? I'm having a difficult time avoiding distractions, so please pray that I can aim for the finish line with the writing project I'm working on--I'd rather be blogging with you! :)


  1. Thanks for the book reviews.It helps so much to read what others have experienced and how they coped.
    Candy seems like a very special lady.

  2. I've read a lot of books on grief, widowhood and single parenting, but I haven't read these. I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

  3. The phrase "anticipatory grief" (mentioned in the review of "Will I Ever Be Whole Again") gave me an "aha!" moment. It is the perfect phrase to describe what I had been going through for one, maybe even two years before John died. Going to all his doctors appointments with him, his was all telling me "this is not going to end well". And so I prepared my heart and my mind for what I knew was coming, though I did not know when. Anticipatory grief is a mitigating grief I believe, allowing you to accept a death which has not yet happened, making the actual moment of goodbye more, for lack of a better word - acceptable. Interesting. Kelly C.

  4. Just a P.S. to my comment - I don't for a moment want anyone to think I had left the Lord out of the equation - at the same time I now believe the "anticipatory grief" was going on, I was praying for strength and healing for John, if that was His Will, knowing that no matter what, God was going to work ALL things for our good, and for His glory.


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