It’s countdown time! Much like the excitement and joy we each experienced with the birth of our children (five between us), our latest delivery is conjuring up similar emotions. “Suddenly Single After 50: The Girlfriends’ Guide to Navigating Loss, Restoring Hope, and Rebuilding Your Life,” Rowman & Littlefield (July 2016), will make its appearance July 16. We hope readers will find the book to be a welcoming, life-saving, and friendly resource.
Our losses began first with Barbara on a warm Saturday afternoon when her then-husband turned to her in their remodeled kitchen and announced: “The passion is gone.” And after 31 years of marriage, he was gone, too. A few years later, Margaret lost her spouse and love of her life after a five-year-illness that ended their 42 years together. Moving forward on our own proved tougher than imagined. Why would we imagine? We each expected to grow old with our spouses.
Regardless of a divorce and death, we were having parallel experiences. Along with our tears, anger and self pity, we realized we were, for the first time in our lives, each living on our own, our children were grown and lived out of town, our surviving parents were aging and required more help, and we both worried how we’d support ourselves and move forward as single women in low-paying writing jobs and also in a couples’ world.
It was a long road to get to the point at which we could laugh, felt whole again, and could write “Suddenly Single After 50.” The result is a combination of great ingredients and an authentic narrative of our progression from sadness and anger to happiness written with honesty, hurt, humor, and helpful tips, and vetted by experts. All the information is woven into compelling stories that could be many women’s stories. But it also is a road map to deal with the specific issues--financial, dating, aging, and even death.
Very important for us is that it became the ultimate reward in the form of a legacy to share with other women facing similar travails, trying to overcome them, and becoming better schooled in what to do, expect, and even share with others, who constantly inquire: "How are you?" And when you fire back "OK," they continue the barrage with "Really? You're really OK?" We finally are.
As long-time close pals and writing partners for 30 years, we were there for each other, along with our families and friends. We continue to be, as well as survivors who have good lives and have learned as girlfriends navigating new lives together way more than we ever hoped to about a subject we never dreamed we would need to address.
We continue to offer help and ideas in our weekly blog, LifeLessonsat50Plus, in speeches, and in articles. Come join us and read and share our book. It's the one resource anyone divorced or widowed will need.