Library program focuses on helping widows

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 7, 2016

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Birmingham resident Kristin Meekhof, now 42, lost her husband of four years to advanced adrenal cancer, just eight weeks after he was diagnosed.

She will talk about her journey and her new book, “A Widow’s Guide to Healing: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years,” which she co-authored with psychologist James Windell,  at the Troy Public Library Sept. 14.

“Widows are sometimes forgotten after the initial rush,” said Connie Doherty,  head of adult information services at the Troy Public Library. “We thought someone who had been through it would be an inspiration for other women, to know there is a future after widowhood.”

Meekhof is a licensed master’s level social worker.

Over 100 widows between the ages of 25 and 80 shared their their insights for the book.

The book explores surviving the first weeks, months and years; coping with grief and harnessing support from friends and family; navigating the legal systems of wills, taxes and estates; being a widow in the workplace; solo parenting; the possibility of dating and remarriage; and creating a game plan for the future.

“It’s important to be side-by-side with somebody in their grief —  to be truly there and listen — not just months, but years after,” Meekhof said.

Meekhof said the book and her program offer help with practical things as well as provide emotional support.

She said people are surprised to discover “how intense and lonely” it is to lose a spouse, which cuts across all ages.

Physician and author Deepak Chopra, who Meekhof described as a good friend, wrote the cover blurb for her book.

“A very valuable and practical guide for any woman who has lost her husband due to an untimely death. Kristin Meekhof’s journey is both inspiring and courageous and something we can all learn from,” Chopra wrote.

Meekhof said the library program will also feature a question-and-answer session.

Meekhof will speak 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Troy Public Library, 510 W. Big Beaver Road. Register by calling (248) 524-3542 or by visiting troypl.org/calendar.

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