During my long wait at the dermatologist's office, I decided to investigate what non-fiction and therapy books come up for both Widow/er Remarriage Preparation. This is an area of research and counseling interest of mine, so I was hoping to find some decent books and developed workshop programs on the common issues dealt in widow remarriage other than divorce' remarriage preparation. What I found out - or what I did not - is highly disappointing. In 2016, there are no books on widow remarriage, though there are four books written by remarried widower Abel Keough for widowers to begin dating using true stories of remarried widowers, and his three books geared towards the women who date, marry, and live with a widower. I did find many fiction books on sultry young widows and non-fiction books about widows grieving and tips for coping. The Christian and counseling remarriage programs out there to date focus mainly on divorced adults who remarry, which though relevant, have the potential to be missing some key unique issues for engaged and remarried widows and widowers.
Now at home, I Googled "widow" to find images of veiled women, Scarlett Johannson's recent film depiction of Black Widow, and Gothic sultry depictions of scantily clad young widows. Whereas, with the word "widower," there are images of actual modern day widowers and a few from The Widower, a film portraying sociopath and murderer Scotsman Malcolm John Webster who was sentenced to life imprisonment. This polarity, as demonstrated with a simple Amazon book search and Google image search, seems to suggest that widows are walking around covered up, do not date, and do not get remarried, or widows are sultry, manipulative, and vengeful. The polarity in the image search for widowers suggests that widowers are either gentle grieving men or sociopaths (like the Black Widow) who preys on women. The book search suggests that at least widowers date and some even remarry.
As a young widow 10 years ago, in 2006, it was hard to figure out what "widow" meant, what my role was as a young widow, what behaviors people expected or did not expect from me, how to date as a young widow, when or what to say to new friends and dates,how to relate to my peers, and what unique issues my current husband and I would face. I am happy to learn there are more modern groups out there geared towards widows who refuse to be pigeon-holed such as Widows Wear Stilettos and there are now Widow and Widowers weekend camps and getaways (e.g. Camp Widow, a weekend retreat program through non-profit Soaring Spirits International). These are fantastic developments.
I am certainly pleased that there is more research and remarriage programs geared towards divorced adults. However, it disappoints me that after so many widows and widowers have been made due to terrorist attacks, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, cancer, heart attacks, and strokes, that there would not be one reputable book and remarriage program on this topic to serve this growing population. We are not our parents' and grandparents' generation of men and women who never dated and remarried. Many of us actually do, including widows despite the myths.
In any event, I hope to eventually come up with a remarriage preparation program, based on research studies on both remarried widows and widowers and divorced adults with and without children in the future. For those interested, please be on the look out. Also, please get in touch if you have your own story to share with clients on the strengths and vulnerabilities or lessons learned in your own widow/er remarriage. Thanks.