Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.
Today we Welcome Pat Nowak, the author of “The ABC’s of Widowhood”. Pat’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a widow heal after the loss of her spouse.
Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.
“The ABC’s of Widowhood” is featured on our Helpful Books page under Loss of a Spouse.
And now our interview with Pat Nowak:
1. What inspired you to write the book The ABC’s of Widowhood?
When my husband was killed walking across the street I was at a loss to find anything that was helpful to read. I was facing emotional upheaval as well as financial problems. Many books that I picked up addressed one or the other; not both. Additionally, a woman experiencing grief needs to have something succinct to read as her attention span is often very limited. My inspiration for the book came from wanting to help all of those women who would experience the death of a spouse and find themselves in the same predicament.
2. How did losing your husband change your life?
After the devastation of losing my husband and eighteen days later our home in a fire, I made the mistake of trying to do too much too soon and insisted on becoming the rock for my children to rely on. Instead of taking care of myself I did not want them to suffer so I overextended; sleeping very little and working non-stop. I learned that I am no good to anyone if I did not stop and listen to my needs. I have since learned the importance of taking time for myself.
I also learned that a woman MUST learn to be financially savvy for her survival. Even today too many women are not vigilant about finances. This spells disaster when there is a death; I learned the hard way but it need not happen.
3. How is the death of a spouse different from divorce?
Death and divorce are similar from an emotional standpoint as you grieve for a spouse that is no longer in the picture. Death, however, is final and many women, after a period of time, begin a new journey and achieve a complete life change. A divorce often means that compromise is necessary as you navigate through childcare, financial and living arrangements that will continue on for years. It is often difficult for a woman to move on after a divorce but in both cases there is a world of new opportunity if a woman listens to her heart and pushes aside the hurt. Once that happens, many women discover happiness that helps them regain their self-confidence and uncovers a wealth of prospects.
4. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?
My family and friends did not desert me. Often after a death or divorce female friends, who are still married, might feel that you are a competitor and couples begin to drift away. This is hurtful to the person grieving. The support my friends showed me during that time helped me through those times when I was overwhelmed.
5. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a loved one that has lost a spouse?
Family and friends can make the difference in the life of someone who is grieving. Call, stop by and make it a point to be engaged with someone who has lost a loved one. Show up unexpectedly with a cup of coffee and just be there to listen.
6. What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your husband?
My friends often were over vigilant not wanting me to feel the hurt. Unfortunately everyone has to go through the grief process in their own way and time. Occasionally I had to push back in order to make my own decisions; right or wrong.
7. What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?
The first thing anyone dealing with grief needs is an attitude adjustment. It is necessary to revitalize and embrace a newfound self-confidence. Even though the prospect of striking out on a path, chosen only by you, is continually daunting you must make it a point to try new things daily. By getting out of the same routine you will see amazing activities and events just waiting to happen. As your self-esteem soars you will know that it is now up to you to plan for your happiness. When you embrace the new changes you are free to let go of the past and proceed easily on to your future.
The next is balance and that has to come from within. Mental and financial balance is essential if you are to meet the challenges of facing life. You need to learn, earn and stop the yearning for balance to work. Learning from professionals what you need to go forward can solve problems easily. An accountant, attorney, and financial experts can help you with any necessary decisions for your future well-being.
Your mental balance may take a bit longer to achieve. When you spend so much time with a significant other your personalities become fused. The slow and rigorous ritual of becoming whole again will take many tears, embracing family and friends for a support system and taking small steps back into life.
The last need is courage; the inner strength that allows you to wake up each morning and get out of bed, even with tears streaming from your eyes. It is the firm determination to get going when all you would like to do is crawl in a hole. Courage will be tested each day as you relearn to live as one in a society meant for two but it is also the tenacity that will make you succeed.
8. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?
It is a simple and sobering fact. Most are unprepared for death, divorce or a debilitating illness, yet this need not happen. Being prepared is the one thing all women can do early in their relationship to insure that plans for their financial destiny and emotional well-being are taken care of.
Additionally, after the death of a spouse there are many assets you will acquire on your life journey. You have the opportunity to choose the way you want to live, the activities that will excite you and the numerous avenues for exploration. Every day will be a new test of strength, fortitude and determination but most who lose a spouse can find their way if they embrace the changes with clarity and hopefulness.
9. What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?
My personal goal after healing was to write a book that everyone who loses a spouse could read before or after the death to help them through the transition. The ABC’s of Widowhood is my voice of experience and my new beginning to share what I discovered along the way. I realized the most important lesson is that all women must have faith to know that they have the free will to pursue a vision of freedom and spiritual awakening…and the journey can be astonishing if you let it.
10. Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?
At the present time I am thinking about writing a book on generational assistance for women; condensing what I know with assistance from others.
About Pat Nowak
People who become suddenly single, whether through divorce or widowhood, can rely on Pat Nowak for comfort and assistance. A nationally renowned speaker and author, Pat Nowak is a life coach on overcoming the emotional trauma of divorce and widowhood, an expert in handling financial affairs, and a motivator to change your life one day at a time.
Connect to Pat Nowak, the author of The ABCs of Widowhood, at http://www.abcsofwidowhood.com. Books are available at http://www.amazon.com
Grief Support Resources: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/grief_support_groups.html