Lesbian Widows : Invisible Grief book cover
1st Edition

Lesbian Widows
Invisible Grief

ISBN 9781560233312
Published May 8, 2006 by Routledge
234 Pages

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USD $48.95

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Book Description

The unseen issues of grief and discrimination—lesbians becoming widows

The death of a life partner poses unique challenges for lesbians. Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief reveals the touching and very personal stories of twenty-five women, including the author, who were widowed at a young age and forced to create a new life without their life partners. The book follows the widows from the time the couple met, to the time when one of the partners died, and beyond, to show how the surviving partner coped with her loss.

Many lesbians feel that the intimacy felt between two women in love goes deeper than what can be experienced by heterosexual partners. Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief reveals themes common to all these women’s experiences while offering practical advice about coping techniques and resources for support. The widows discuss their efforts to create funerals and memorial services, give their accounts of the overwhelming grief throughout the first two years, and explain the legal and financial discrimination they encountered. The author provides a chapter specifically for caring family and friends, another chapter for professionals working with this sensitive population, and a bibliography of helpful coping resources.

Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief explores the topics of:

  • caregivers/caretaking
  • death and dying
  • grief journeys
  • the similarities and differences between lesbian and married widows
  • the lack of support services for lesbian widows
  • the legal and financial discrimination against lesbian widows
  • the effect of being “in” or “out” on grief recovery
  • the issues faced by widows in starting new relationships
  • spirituality
  • gay marriage
Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief provides an insightful look into the grieving and recovery process, inspiring hope with the knowledge that others have survived this tragedy. This moving book is an essential resource for lesbians, friends and family of lesbians, mental health professionals, medical professionals, psychiatrists, LGBT health providers, feminist and lesbian organizations, and anyone involved with grief training programs such as hospice.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • The Decision to Write
  • Book Participants
  • Writing from Experience
  • Lesbian Relationships
  • Chapter 2. Shock and Denial
  • Ellen and Kate
  • Janet and Chris
  • Anita and Holly
  • Cassie and Fran
  • Shirley and Terry
  • Which Is Worse?
  • Chapter 3. Terminal Illness and Disbelief
  • Anna Marie and Caroline
  • Vera and Nancy
  • Joy and Barbara
  • Traci and Dana
  • Marilyn and Cheryl
  • Samantha and Marie
  • Chapter 4. Long-Term Illness
  • Heather and Ruth
  • Dale and Carol
  • Pam and Sandy
  • Maureen and Robin
  • Rose and Steph
  • Nora and Anne
  • Pat and Betty
  • Chapter 5. The Caretaker Role
  • Donna and Randi
  • A Change of Roles
  • The Support of Friends
  • Lois and Joan
  • Beverly and Virginia
  • Jane and Lynn
  • Irene and MJ
  • Linda and Tonya
  • Examples of Support
  • Examples of Isolation
  • Chapter 6. Parting Moments
  • The Presence of Death
  • A Spiritual Experience
  • Saying Good-Bye
  • Memories and Laughter
  • A Sense of Intimacy
  • The Relationship Not Recognized
  • The Painful Reality
  • Chapter 7. Funerals and Memorial Services
  • Feeling Invisible
  • Hurt by Lesbians
  • Open Support
  • Religious and Nonreligious Services
  • Rites of Passage
  • Chapter 8. Grief Work
  • The Pain of Grief Work
  • Health
  • Feeling Her Presence
  • Home
  • Ways of Escape
  • Coming Out
  • Chapter 9. Comfort and Support
  • Friends
  • Family Support
  • Online Support
  • Therapy
  • Other Sources of Comfort
  • Chapter 10. Complications
  • Legal Discrimination
  • Support Groups
  • Written Materials
  • Disenfranchised Grief
  • Chapter 11. The First Two Years
  • The First Year
  • The Second Year
  • Chapter 12. Loving Again
  • Problems Experienced
  • Myths About Grief
  • Still Single
  • Chapter 13. Grief over Time
  • Grief in the First Two Years
  • Around Three Years
  • Four to Seven Years
  • After Ten Years
  • The Gift in the Grieving
  • Chapter 14. For Friends and Family
  • Grief Takes Time
  • Accept the Relationship
  • Avoid Clichés
  • What Does Not Help
  • How Friends Can Help
  • Get the Help You Need
  • Chapter 15. For Professionals
  • Grief Models
  • The Lesbian Community
  • The Need for More Resources
  • Appendix A. The Lesbian Widows
  • Appendix B. Resources
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included

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Whipple, Victoria