Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Book Review: Widowish

Hi, how are you? I'm kind of meh right now, and I'm just trying to get through each day. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a video I posted about some shakeups with my medical team and things going on and yeah. 

I am overwhelmed and just totally over it. 

You know what I'm not over with? This book. 

Widowish - Melissa Gould

When Melissa Gould's husband, Joel, was unexpectedly hospitalized, she could not imagine how her life was about to change. Overwhelmed as his condition tragically worsened, she had to believe that while Joel’s loss was permanent, so was their love.

Left to raise their young daughter on her own, and to act as if she could resume life without her beloved husband by her side, Melissa found that she didn’t fit the typical idea of widowhood or meet the expectations of mourning. She didn’t look like a widow or act like a widow, but she felt like one. Melissa was widowish.

Melissa’s personal journey through grief and beyond includes unlikely inspiration from an evangelical preacher, the calming presence of some Real Housewives, and the unexpected attention of a charismatic musician.

A modern take on loss, Widowish illuminates the twists of fate that break our world, the determination that keeps us moving forward, and the surprises in life we never see coming.
Some of you might recognize this book as being one of the Amazon First Reads from January 2020 or December 2019, I can't remember. I would have picked it for sure but lucky for me, I received a copy for review from Little A, an imprint of Amazon Publishing, and I am SO GLAD because this was a five star read for me. Easily. 

This memoir follows Melissa Gould as she navigates her husband's death not long after his diagnosis of MS and watching that deterioration. I can't tell you much about what transpired that led to his death because you really need to go through that as Melissa does in the book. One of the best parts about this book for me was how she describes Joel's entrance to the emergency room and how quickly things go downhill, how she's getting information, and just... what it is like to walk out of a hospital like, "alright... so now I'm alone.... now what?", it just.... it gave me a different perspective that I didn't have. 

If you've followed me for awhile on this blog, you'll know that I died briefly in August 2016 when I gave birth to my youngest daughter
Obviously I survived, but for days, Matt was being advised that I might not make it, he was being made to answer some questions that we hadn't really talked about because we're young, we're too young to die, and while I survived... that's traumatic for Matt. I think about what would have happened if I didn't survive? How would Matt have picked up and carried on as a single dad to four kids? 

Fast forward to now, and I am riddled with a ton of health issues, including memory and cognitive issues, and I'm disabled. I'm unable to work, I rely 100% on Matt to take care of me even though I look totally normal/fine, I'm very much not. What would happen if he died? How would I take care of four kids? 

Needless to say, I devoured this book. The book is rather short, only 202 pages, and once you start you will not put it down, so just reserve a day for it. Melissa takes you through her and Joel's incredible love story, becoming parents, his MS diagnosis, his death, and her learning how to be a widow. Or widow... as a verb? I mean, is widowing an action? Maybe, depending on who you talk to, I guess. 

I really couldn't stop reading this, I cried because I tried to imagine what I would do if this was Matt and I, and I won't like, it triggered my PTSD and panic attacks because I am still really focused on death and dying and I don't know if I ever won't be. Who knows. I loved Melissa's humor and self deprecating personality because she speaks about the types of people you encounter in the grieving process and I totally understood it. To this day, I'm four years out, but I get people who ask how you are and they don't really want to hear, they'd much rather hear that you are totally fine an grateful, that you know you're blessed, because they will know they've done the socially expected act of wanting to care, but they don't want to be obligated. Instead, if you tell them how awful things are and that you're struggling you'll get one of two responses: the look of a caged animal not sure how to escape or the "well, at least you're alive!" faux chipper response, both of which are just awful.  

I totally related to that and I just wanted to hug her because I feel like nobody gets it.... and she does

I also really liked how she talked about trying to parent while grieving and making sure that you're helping them get through the grieving process whole, nobody wants to be responsible for screwing them up. I totally got that, and I really loved her candor. Overall? I really liked this book and if you are in the market for a good non-fiction, this should be at the top of your list. 

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Why Girls Are Weird said...

I've not gone through anything like this, however I would like a better understanding of what someone goes through after a loss like this. I'll definitely check this out Sara.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I love that you were able to read this and it really resonated. I'm sure it was tough to read at the same time. My brother has MS and he's doing okay as of now, but it does make me think of his future.