EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 27, 2013

A year in the life of women 'too young to be widows'

You never paid close enough attention to the “part” part.

You were young (too young!) and in love when you walked down the aisle, nervous and sparkly-eyed. “For richer, for poorer” were just words. “For better, for worse.” Marriage has its ups and downs; everybody knows that. No problem.

Then ... “In sickness and in health, until death do you part.”

Whoa. That’s a long ways away, right?

For author Becky Aikman, it wasn’t. Blindsided by the early death of her husband, she explains how it takes a small village to raise one’s spirits in the new book “Saturday Night Widows.”

Life was not supposed to happen that way.

Becky Aikman’s husband, Bernie, was supposed to become an old man one day. They were supposed to retire together, travel together, spend weekends sharing a newspaper and watching the sun set.

He was not supposed to die young.

But he did, and once the shock had softened a bit, Aikman tried finding support at a widow’s group. There, she learned that she was decades younger than those peers and that they seemed to resent her. She was uninvited to return.

Years later, once returned to normalcy and newly in love again, Aikman decided to learn more about herself and her widowhood. She asked around and found five young widows, all who agreed to Aikman’s “plan” to support one another for one year.

“We would share our stories, and we would share one story,” said Aikman.

Widowed just months, Denise was raw from her loss and would need the tenderest support. Dawn was “pure confection,” a beauty with two small children to raise. Homebody Lesley was starting a relationship that gave her hope. Marcia, a lawyer, “never cracked.” And Tara was holding extra hurt about her husband’s death.

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