Kristin Meekhof is a licenced Masters level social worker. She's a speaker, contributor to Huffington Post, a Maria Shriver “Architect of Change”, and the author of A Widow's Guide to Healing. She has been seen on Huffington Post Live, featured on American Greetings and at ABC Headquarters in New York. She has also been a panellist at the Parliament of World Religions. In 2007, she was 33 when her husband died from Adrenal cancer. About three years after his death, she decided that she wanted to interview as many widows as possible and put their narratives together in her book. She spent three and a half years talking with widows from various backgrounds to compile the book and share their stories. In 2014, Kristin traveled to Kenya and saw firsthand how widows live on less than a dollar a day. On today’s show, Kristin joins Charlie to talk about her experiences as a widow, and her experiences as an author who shared the stories of other widows in her recent book.
[02:51] Is this something that we talk enough about in our society?
[02:57] Talking about loss & grief is a difficult conversation for people to have
[04:23] How did Kristin go from loss & grief to writing her own book?
[07:17] Clinical vs. narrative: which approach is more helpful for healing?
[08:17] What are some of the common threads of the widows’ stories that she compiled?
[09:20] Secondary losses that are caused by the primary loss
[10:42] Intense loneliness, secondary losses, and financial concerns are major themes across stories
[11:28] How different widows experience moving on with another partner
[14:38] Mothers of younger children have different approaches in dealing with the void that’s left following the loss of a father
[15:54] The widow label, and how it can have negative stigmas behind it
[18:08] After her husband's passing, when were some moments that checking the 'widow box’ struck Kristin?
[20:45] She talks on some assumptions that are made about widows
[22:08] What happened to her professional life after she published her first book?
[23:43] The opportunities or experiences that have surprised her
[25:59] Kristin talks about the project in Kenya, where she witnessed how widows live on less than a dollar a day
[27:37] What were some of the cross-cultural differences and convergences between the widows' experiences in Nairobi, Africa vs. those in the US
[30:03] Now that her first book has been published, what is her next idea?
[31:04] How can we be supportive or helpful as family or friends without overtaking the widow?
[33:03] She shares some of the gems from Chapter 8, The best advice I never got: things widows know
[35:21] In her own experience, what's been the most challenging aspect of being a widow?
[37:25] How is she working through the “re-griefing effect”?
[39:31] The physical effects of grief & how it affected Kristin’s health
[41:42] The “loss spiral”: starts with losing one thing, then losing something else & it goes down from there
[42:40] One of the changes that creeped up on her
[44:53] What's she excited about going forward?
[45:55] What does she want people to take away from this episode?
Mentioned in this Episode:
A Widow's Guide to Healing by Kristin Meekhof
How widows live on less than a dollar a day (in Kenya)