Widow's Club

Sometimes, life stinks.

Bad things happen to great people but truly horrible things happen to you — things like losing a loved one, and that’s indescribable. Your emotions feel like shuffled cards: You’re foggy, sad, angry, exhausted, and tired of dealing with it all. So what do you do next? You take a deep breath and read “The Hot Young Widows Club” by Nora McInerny.

Nora McInerny knows grief. She shouldn’t have to, but she does because her husband died some time ago at age 35, just before her father died, just before she miscarried what would have been her second child. And if that sounds like a lot, it is, but she says not to compare her situation to yours. Loss is not a competition because “who could possibly win?”

If this is your first big loss, welcome to a club you “had no intention of joining.” What you may not realize yet is that you’re in good company, although dealing with your loss is uniquely yours and there are no rules or “right” ways to grieve, no expiration date, and there are no shoulds.

Although, maybe you should think about finding someone who’s been through this walk of widowhood, too, so you can scream into pillows together. McInerny recommends a “support group” of one or a dozen but find them on your own timeframe and do it in your own way. Oh, and “stop saying yes to the [things] you don’t want to do.”

Remember that “you are not a machine, and grief is not a program you can run.” If you’ve been through loss before, know that “every… loss is different…” Understand that people can be awkward, they can be dumb, and that not every friendship will last beyond your grief. Accept help by naming a “grief manager” to coordinate everyone who wants to help do the “stuff you need done.” Embrace these words: “Why do you ask?” when faced with nosiness. And finally, remember that “Time can change you, and it will. But it can’t change [the departed], and it won’t.”

When you head to the store to buy your copy of “The Hot Young Widow’s Club,” be sure to pick up a package of sticky paper flags. You’ll use them up on every page of this helpful, hopeful book.

Truly, this is unlike any coping with loss book you’ve ever seen; first, because author Nora McInerny ignores euphemisms. There’s no candy-coating death and no hiding what happened, so she uses the “D” word with honesty and gusto. She also uses humor, too, although it’s not the ROTFL kind; instead, it’s humor of the sort that survivors use at the end of a crisis. And that, as she shows readers, is what you’ll be: A survivor, even though you’ll still cry sometimes.

This is not a book for raw widows or widowers, but they’ll want it eventually; it’s a little irreverent, but it’s just what they’ll need, in time. Indeed, life sometimes stinks – but “The Hot Young Widows Club” absolutely does not.

Terri Schlichenmeyer developed her love for books at an early age and was reading by age 3. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with her two dogs and thousands of books.

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