Monday, October 29, 2012

Saturday Night Widows: The Story of One of Our Own

 You all know that I love to pass on books that have an impact on me and I never write about something unless I think it's worth spending your hard-earned money on.  I know we all have our own taste when it comes to "widow reads" - some like the more self-help approach while I, along with a few others, appreciate a good story.  This is why, in the last few years, I have only written about a few books (Two Chai Day, When You're Falling, Dive) because I don't like passing on something that hasn't impacted me in a positive way.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a woman, Becky Aikman, who is no stranger to the writing process, but who is new to our bank of "widow lit."  In the email she said, "My new book, Saturday Night Widows, is being released by Random House on January 22. Advance copies have just come in from the printer, and I would be delighted if you would let me share one with you and tell me what you think."

And of course I only had one response:  "Heck, yeah.  The sooner the better."

Now, usually, when I'm writing about a book, I like to pull a few quotes from it.  And while I read Becky's book, I underlined and dog-eared pages so that I could include them in my blog.

But then I liked the book so much, I loaned it to my mom who is still reading it.

Becky Aikman is like so many of us - not willing to take her widowhood lying down, she decided that there must be a better way to work through the grieving process than sitting around with a group of people, drinking bad coffee and comparing horror stories.  In a bold move, she gathered a small group of women she didn't know to get together once a month to  Through the course of a year, this group of women who, in the beginning, had very little in common other than the fact that they were widows, dove out of their comfort zones and back into the pool of life.  

What will appeal to so many is the personalities in the group and how different each of their experiences are:  Becky's husband passed away from a long illness while Denise's husband died suddenly in her home right in front of her.  Marcia's husband died of cancer while Tara's estranged husband died from alcoholism.  Leslie was shocked when her husband took his own life and Dawn was left with two young children to raise after her husband died in an ATV accident during a weekend with friends.

Yup.  When it comes to widowhood, these women cover a lot of bases.

But what I love most about this book is her approach.  A writer by trade, Becky took her widowhood on as the ultimate research project.  In the beginning, she participated in studies about grief and interviewed experts, trying to figure out why we do what we do and how we might be able to do it better.  As I type that, it sounds like it could make for some dry material, but she writes in a way that is so perfectly interwoven in her story that it doesn't come across as clinical.  And as I was reading the book, over 5 years into my own widowhood, I had several "ah ha!" moments that either confirmed that what I was doing to get through my grief was right on track - or that there were a few things that I could do differently.

I read this book over a particularly rough weekend - the end of my 3 1/2 year relationship, the most serious relationship I've had since my husband died.  And what was interesting was that, while I related to Becky's story as a widow, it actually helped me with my break-up.  One of the lessons she learned (and I'm paraphrasing here - again, Mom still has the book) was something that I really think pulled the kids and me through:

If you're having a sad moment, don't dwell too much.  
Immediately try to replace it with a happy one.

I took that advice to heart and as I told the kids about the change that we were about to experience, watching their faces fall and tears well up in their eyes, I stood up and said, "Get dressed.  We're going on a hike."

In the sunshine and in the presence of just each other, the kids and I talked about this transition but not in the way we might have if we had just stayed home and wallowed in our sadness.  We were happy.  We were together.  And even though this is a rough transition, I believe it was easier because we made the effort to be happy.  While I will never forget how hard that weekend was, the memory I actually have is following my kids on a trail through a canyon, breathing in the pine-scented air, and watching them help each other over a rocky path.

So, Becky - you may not have meant for this book to be "self-help."  But in telling your story, it certainly helped me.

GREAT NEWS!!!  Becky's publisher has offered 10 free advance copies of her book "Saturday Night Widows" for the next 10 people who sign up for any Widda Getaway!  Email to book your trip and receive your free copy!

Widow Chick (aka, Catherine Tidd) is the owner of and the author of the upcoming memoir Confessions of a Mediocre Widow (Jan. 2014).  She is also a writer for The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas and a contributor to several books on grief and renewal.


  1. A few of my Modern Widows Club ladies keep telling me about this book. Do you have anymore copies? We will review & share.
    Carolyn Moor

    1. Hey Carolyn!

      Can you send me an email at and we'll see what we can work out?


  2. As a longtime friend of Becky's, I'm so happy to read your review of her book and to know that it helped you through a difficult time. She's a wonderful writer and a great friend.

    I'm just a little jealous because I haven't seen a copy yet!