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Military Widow: A Survival Guide Paperback – June 8, 2006
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About the Author
Joanne M. Steen, the widow of a naval aviator killed in the line of duty, is a nationally certified counselor and certified strategic planner, crisis responder, instructor, and speaker on military loss.
M. Regina Asaro is a psychiatric nurse certified in death and bereavement and a crisis responder who worked with a team in Oklahoma City in the aftermath of the bombing and with the families of victims of the massacre in Srebrenica.� She has presented many workshops on the impact of violent crime, grief, and traumatic loss.
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Top customer reviews
I have read reviews that mentioned the book would have been helpful during the first days and weeks. Honestly, I do not think any book would be helpful so early. I just cannot imagine being able to sit and read and comprehend during a time when the mind is still spinning from the emotional trauma. But, everyone is different.
I think this book is much better suited at helping others understand what a military widow may be experiencing. Friends, family, CAOs, Rear Detachments, etc. I, however, did not feel I needed to read a bunch of stories about what I was experiencing and how it is "normal". I know what I am experiencing. I do not need to read somebody telling me what I am experiencing.
I gave this book four stars because it is well done and it is a great resource for those hoping to gain insight into the world of a military widow. I did not give it five stars because as a widow I did not find it helpful to read what I already know.
I have found that the insight this book provides will also be helpful for the loved ones of a military widow, whether civilian or military, who are trying to support her and navigate the rough waters of military widowhood.
Congratulations, Joanne and Regina, on a resource that is heartfelt, truthful, conscientious, knowledgeable and easy to read, and thank you so much for providing it to us. This book has brought me to an "aha" moment that I didn't think would come, and has provided confirmation and also validation to the feelings that I am having. I know this book will provide that to so many more in the future, when the control is no longer in their hands. It will also provide helpful information to those who wish to support a grieving spouse, or just want to learn more about this path with the hope of never taking it.
The chapters are short, the coverage is excellent, and the "lessons learned" from other military widows stand out. Every word was written with the care of someone who has lived through the pain.
Many of the "lessons learned" in this book can help non-military widows and widowers. It helped me. I believe this book can even help non-widows understand the terrible burden of the military widow.
Part one: "Life and Death in the military," bring us into the diverse lives of widows in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Coast Guard. Military widowhood (and the focus is on the widow) is especially difficult. Joanne understands: "Protecting America does have its price, and for me, it was my husband's life."
Part Two is entitled: "Military grief is complex." It's usually associated with young widowhood, far from family and home towns. The circumstances of military death, when they died for a cause, when bodies are unavailable, when the mission is classified, makes things more difficult. The publicity around the death, as well as the funeral, often forces the military widow into the public eye.
Military widowhood comes without warning. Part Three: "When your husband dies suddenly," contrasts the circumstances of anticipated and sudden deaths. It dispels popular notions on how we should grieve. It encourages us to do the grief work necessary to move forward in the lives we never wanted. It describes how counseling and getting together with other widows can validate our feelings, with the experience of others. Special military grief issues include delays related to deployment.
As described in Part Four, widowhood is "The unplanned trip through living hell." In most cases, connections to your husband's unit change. Children grieve in different ways. Too many people tell us dumb things (and the book includes interesting answers). It addresses some of the "God issues," it provides warnings about inappropriate advances and identity theft.
Part Five, "Difficult decisions," describes the need for financial planning, encourages stability in living arrangements (after base housing), as well as common-sense advice on medals and mementos.
"Everyday coping," the subject of Part Six, examines how to handle significant dates (as well as the time beforehand), widow humor, staying healthy, in-laws, ex-wives and stepchildren, if and when to date again (as well as the reactions of others), how we change, as well as planning for emergencies.
Appendix A includes a list of practical tips for helping the military widow - in the short and long term. Appendix B adds a list of organizations which can help in various ways.
Disclaimer: I've been a widower for just over four years. I've seen Joanne's work with military widows (and other widowed people like myself) first hand. After my Nancy died, she was the first widow who helped me. She has put the best of her wisdom and hard-earned experience in this book.