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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Military Widow

I just finished reading the book that was first given to me on September 21, 2010, six months and 27 days ago, nine months and 19 days after I was married to the most amazing man that, I think, ever lived. I wish I could have known how the rest of our life would have turned out, and that it had a different ending. That is the largest wish that I have or will ever have.

Anyway, this book is called Military Widow: A Survival Guide, by Joanne M. Steen, MS, NCC and M. Regina Asara, MS, RN, CT (2006). Both authors are accomplished and credentialed in grief and crisis. Joanne was (-note, there is NEVER a was, so, is, but I had to leave this slip up in to prove a point) a widow of a Naval Aviator killed in the line of duty, and Regina, a military wife herself, assisted her with the writing and publishing of the book, and together, I feel they came up with quite a helpful product. I could go on about their credentials forever. They are quite impressive. If interested in this book, please go to You can purchase it there. I will be writing a review on it shortly.

The authors addressed the issue of military widowhood in all different branches, and filled a huge gap that I have been missing in many, many other titles that I have tried to read through. While some of these grief books applied in some areas to my situation, so much was always missing, which lead to me putting it down, and trying another, only to go through the cycle again. This book, while of course had many different scenarios, completely explained me and how I am feeling. I read, in almost every chapter, the book feeling like they were in my head and knowing how I was feeling. Thank goodness. I needed it.

This book confirmed that I am not crazy. I am not the only widow that has had a really hard time coming to terms with the reality of the situation, especially because it was during deployment- in fact, there was even a scenario where the widow thought her husband was on a secret mission (sound familiar?). It confirmed that I do feel alone, isolated, and as if I do not fit in. This also hit close to home for me, because, as it states, I do not still fit in to the military community, however, I do not yet fit again in to the civilian community, in my life at this point. This, to me, explained why I feel as if I am clinging with all my might to our military "family", still trying to fit in, while not being able to completely feel comfortable with my civilian friends and family, almost to the point of isolating myself, without actually intending to, because I do not fit in to that life, after having married Matt and lived this one. And the fact that many of our military family is soon leaving via ETS or PCS, I am inevitably facing further isolation and abandonment, while also feeling elated and happy for those going on to their new life paths, which may not be understood fully by a civilian realm. (I have read and re-read those last three sentences over and over again for clarity, but the confusion of the situation is such that it needs to be left the way it is.)

I have had people ask how they can help me from both the military and civilian worlds. They are reading my words and story, and also visiting from other blogs. I was featured on another blog offering a differing perspective. My perspective is the one that discusses every military spouse's worst fear, but one that no one really wants to talk about. Thankfully (although it sounds and feels weird to me to say that, but I have to find SOMETHING good about it), this experience has allowed others to view in to this life, without actually having to live it- Thankfully.

The blog that noted me as a differing perspective is To Love A Soldier. Megan's blog has been so inspirational for so many, and she truly has brought the different branches of service, different military experiences, and different difficulties as well as triumphs together, of the military life ( I was honored to be featured on her blog, so that spouses can get a different perspective.

With that being said, I found a major feature in this book, that hopefully no one else will have to receive in the manner that I did, that could help those wanting to know how to help a friend in need. This applies not only to military personnel and families wanting to help, but to the general public as well. I didn't even know how I "could be helped", but these suggestions are great for those wanting to know. I want to post the Appendix, however, I thought twice of the legality of it, and emailed the authors to ask permission. I hopefully can share it with you soon- more information to come.

Just know that to help a military widow, be there. Reading through this, I suppose my summary would apply to any widow, really. Offer assistance, but don't pressure it. Mean it when you offer it. Don't act like she is crazy, as she is going through a huge plethora of emotions, role changes, life changes, fears, anxieties and many other adjustments. Say his Name. Talk about him. Share stories- I promise, I will love them. Don't be afraid of her, its not a contagious cootie. I so hope I can post the Appendix, because I really can't verbalize this better than they did.

Note: I just received a call from Joanne Steen, one of the authors, and a military widow. We had a wonderful, hour long conversation about our lives. She has some more projects coming up, one that I am SO excited about! I am waiting on a response from her co-author prior to posting the Appendix, but hope to be able to share it soon. I will soon write a review of her book to share with everyone also.

Thank you, Joanne, for your call. You give me so much hope.

1 comment:

  1. Tiffany, I am so very honored to have you as part of my site. You have no idea how much I have been blessed by getting to know you and following your journey. I was thinking of you today.