Widows' Hope

Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW

Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW

Recent Posts

42 Years

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Dec 8, 2017 4:50:06 PM

The following story was submitted by David Gerber, of Potomac, MD, who originally delivered it to a discussion group on Aging, Death & Dying in May of 2017 about two-years after his wife, Ryna, had lost her long battle with a rare disease. They had been married nearly 42 years. David believes he has benefited greatly from hearing others tell their stories and has agreed to share his with us.

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Six Years Later

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Oct 1, 2017 11:03:04 PM


Six years later, I still sometimes sit on the edge of my bed shaking my head in disbelief and thinking to myself or saying aloud: "This just can't be. It didn't really happen. Neal can't really be gone - dead."  (I use the dirty "d" word to reinforce it - lest I forget and lapse back into deluding myself that at any minute, he's going to appear around the corner with that impish grin on his face.)

Six years later, I think of my cousin, Mindy who died four years ago of lung cancer at age 51 and how I have an insatiable urge to call Neal and say "Neal, you'll never believe who else died!"

Six years later, there are still things that come up - whether in the news or with the family  - that only Neal would appreciate or be tickled by - and for a split moment, I want to pick up the phone and call him.

Six years later, when I'm in the supermarket and see a cantaloupe display, I think of him because that was his favorite fruit.

Six years later, I still feel queasy when I walk into a doctor's office - where the stark walls, exam tables and tongue depressors still trigger memories of the countless hours spent in doctors offices and hospitals searching for a diagnosis, and once receiving it (angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive blood vessel cancer) enduring rounds of radiation and chemotherapy - and seeing looks of pity in all our oncologists' eyes.

Six years later and I still occasionally second guess myself and wonder what I could have done, better, faster or smarter in my frantic quest to save his life - even though I knew from having spent the midnight hours scouring the Internet that in almost every case, angiosarcoma is terminal.

Six years later and I still sometimes feel that twinge in the pit of my stomach reminding me of those days of anguish.

Six years later, I also think how pleased Neal would be to know that I've become a better dancer!

Six years later, I think how proud he would be that our niece has become an aspiring singer/songwriter, our nephew is studying biochemistry and another niece is getting married.

Six years later, I think what joy and comfort he would take in knowing that I moved from Connecticut to Maryland, have a lovely apartment, have made supportive, new friends, live just minutes from family, and gained back the 10 lbs I lost during my two years as a caregiver.

Six years later, life is far from idyllic, but it's far better than it was one, two or three years later...

Six years later, I rarely visit those Facebook support groups I used to visit nightly to commisserate with fellow widowed travelers from coast to coast and around the world.

Six years later, I feel privileged to have had the time I did with such a kind, witty, smart and honorable man.

Six year later makes a difference. It will for you, too. Give it time.

By:  Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW



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Topics: Stories from Widows

Nevertheless She Persisted

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Feb 24, 2017 3:48:23 PM

By Sarah Dohack-Young, Fairdealing, MO

I'm a two time loser-- I've been widowed twice.  I met my first husband on a blind date while I was in college,.  He was the best looking man I'd ever seen and I was smitten at first sight.  We were together almost 25 years when he was diagnosed with an unusual form of leukemia. 

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Ring the Bells That Still Can Ring - a widow and mother's story

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Jan 24, 2017 11:55:33 AM

The story below was written by a widow living in Rockville, MD.  She originally read it at a memorial event at Hospice Caring, Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD:

My name is Iris and I want to thank the Hospice Caring staff for inviting me to speak with you at this annual Tree of Love and Luminary ceremony. This is not an assembly we would have wanted to attend, but here we all are, determined to transform perhaps one molecule of our grief into honoring and remembering our loved ones. When Penny asked me to tell you of my journey, I told her I was concerned I would not be uplifting. She told me to tell it anyway!

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Cider Days on a picture-perfect autumn day

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Nov 1, 2016 3:00:05 PM

Mother Nature showed her fondness for Widow Care by providing absolutely picture-perfect weather for our Cider Days event at the bucolic Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda. Even the bees were happy and left the group alone.

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What I Wish I Had Known About Widowhood – Or: Who would have thought that a cantaloupe would trigger such raw emotion?

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Oct 28, 2016 3:20:22 PM

The experts refer to it as the “widow’s fog.” A former widowed neighbor referred to it as “the closest thing to insanity.” However one chooses to frame it, widowhood is not for the faint of heart.

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July Sunday Brunch

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Aug 24, 2016 10:27:47 AM

A second summer gathering was held at a lovely private home in Bethesda. A small group of women gathered on a steamy afternoon in late July for a delicious and sumptuous brunch.

It was the perfect venue for forging new friendships, topped off with a casual presentation by Max Freelander, a Rockville Wells Fargo Financial Adviser who spoke briefly on basic financial planning. Many thanks to him and our hostess, Elisa B. :-)  

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La Madeleine Widows Meet & Greet

Posted by Leann Sherman, MSW, LGSW on Jun 14, 2016 11:00:00 AM

It was the perfect day weather wise for Widow Care’s Meet & Greet held Sunday, June 12th  in an intimate reserved room at the Pike & Rose La Madeleine.

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Topics: Widow Care Events