Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman

Only 49 when her husband died, Becky Aikman would be considered a young widow by most standards. With many years in front of her, she hoped to find a way to rebuild her shattered life. She joined a bereavement support group but the experience proved a major disappointment. What she found was an austere room filled with much older women sitting in a circle being led in a discussion of the traditional, but not necessarily accurate, five stages of grief. This would do little in helping her move forward.

So wanting to do more and realizing there must be other young widows like her, Aikman took the initiative in assembling her own group. After getting referrals from friends and acquaintances, she gathered together five women, all strangers, to join her in this new and experimental support group. The idea was to meet once a month over the course of a year and participate in various activities with the hope of remaking their lives while still honoring the memories of their husbands. The group’s outings included a cooking class, a tour of an art museum, a trip to a lingerie store, a day at a health spa, and even a trip to Morocco which was a fascinating account in itself.

I was moved while reading about the struggles each woman endured and the challenges she had to overcome. Every one of them brought something different to the group. Their personalities were as individually distinct as their stories, but the common bond of grief and young widowhood not only sustained the group but saw it flourish as insecurities, confidences, and hugs were shared. Aikman’s book is a joy to read because she takes a difficult topic and turns it into an uplifting story with just the right touch of humor.

Saturday Night Widows can be found on the VBPL catalog and is also available from the library as a downloadable audiobook. Because I so enjoyed that part of the book recounting the women’s adventure in Morocco, I want to recommend The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett a book about three female friends who quit their jobs and undertake a year-long backpacking journey around the world.

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