Widowed men are vastly outnumbered by widows, and they receive disproportionately little attention in their time of grief and recovery. Though widowed men have much in common with widows, their sisters in grief, their journey is uniquely male. The author shares his practical responses to many issues faced by widowed men, including grief, changed relationships, anger, forgiveness, cooking, housekeeping, holidays and weekends, steps toward healing, dating, the possibility of remarriage, and the ways the readers and their wives may be remembered. The Kindle edition contains brief stories about the widowed life with questions for the readers’ thoughts. The author calls himself a “widow-man,” a term of his own creation to avoid the title “widower,” which he finds unsavory.
As a retired marriage and family therapist, a retired sociology professor who taught marriage and family courses for 41 years, and a widowed man myself, I highly recommend Nyle Kardatzke’s book, Widow-Man: A Widower’s Story and Journaling Book. Although we all know that death is a normal part of life, the loss of a loved one, particularly one’s spouse, is a grievous experience. Fran and I were very happily married for almost 69 years. Her death on February 1, 2012, was the greatest loss I have ever experienced. Although I still regarded myself as the luckiest man alive for having been married to the most wonderful woman on planet earth for so many years, I knew that my world had changed forever.
In his book, Dr. Kardatzke covers well the responsibilities facing us following our wife’s death, the feelings we may experience, ways of dealing with those feelings, ways of adjusting to our loss, and our plans for the future. He raises questions for the reader to answer and encourages the keeping of a journal including the thoughts, feelings, and activities one experiences. Although I have never kept a journal, I believe this would be very helpful in dealing effectively with one’s loss.
Widow-Man is a book I highly recommend for individual reading as soon as possible after the death of one’s wife, for use in counseling sessions with a man whose wife has died, and as a book that would be very helpful to discuss in grief groups. I recently gave Widow-Man to a friend of mine whose wife died, and a week or so later, he assured me that he was finding it very helpful. Another friend, a widowed woman, read the book and told me that it was very meaningful for her.
Vern Norris, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology