The Widowhood Effect: What it’s like to lose a spouse in your 30s

[pullquote] …it appears that people are more uncomfortable being around someone who is grieving than
someone who is dying… [/pullquote]

This piece by Christina Frangou is certainly one for you to read. This memoir of widowhood at age 36 details her loving relationship with her late husband, Spencer, and the 42 days (from cancer diagnosis to death) they had to say goodbye. The “Widowhood Effect” refers to the impact of grief on the human body that can be devastating.

Christina explains her grieving process and her longing for antiquated mourning traditions, like wearing only black clothing, to signify her pain to others. One of the most difficult aspects of her experience was her young age. It was difficult for her to feel so isolated in her peer group as a 36-year- old widow while other people were getting married and having children. This piece shares a brave perspective on loss that will encourage empathy for the grieving.

From my own experience, after my husband died 4 ½ years ago, it appears that people are more uncomfortable being around someone who is grieving than someone who is dying. I highly recommend an article by Megan Devine called “How To Help a Grieving Friend: 11 Things To Do When You Are Not Sure What To Do.” The article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on 10/24/14. For more useful information on grieving, go to Refuge in Grief. This article is in the appendix of my book, “Choosing To Die,” A Personal Story.

New Feature in “Art of Dying” Magazine

[pullquote] I’m an advocate
for living into our dying, being aware of what is happening to us when it’s happening and not
denying it. [/pullquote]

I hope you takes some relaxed time and view the “Art of Dying” Magazine, Volume 1 and
Volume II. Although the first volume was released at the end of 2016, it is timeless. The second
was released in September 2017.

This profound and beautiful online magazine, “Art of Dying,” Volume II, can be found
at Use the right arrow to turn the pages. Enlarge the page so you can read it
easily. If you want to see Volume I, look at the left margin, and click on the image that looks like
a book cover.

In this exquisite magazine, the first of its kind, John Wadsworth, founding editor and creative
director, has designed and published stories and ideas about death and dying. John says, “Art of
Dying unconditionally respects the numberless ways through which we cooperate with death’s
mystery. All perspectives are welcome, and no insistence that pain and sorrow be negated, nor
that the Unknown be known. Death transcends the humancentric worldview. We, the living and
the dying, unite in death’s transcendence.

Since my TEDx talk, “Not Here By Choice,” given only seven months after my husband died, I
have been interviewed numerous times. I offer information generously as a way to help others
expand their own end of life choices.

In Volume I, the article about Alan and me is the last article in the magazine. It is one of the
most beautiful and poignant articles yet written about Alan’s choice and passage to VSED
(Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking).

The article begins: “Alan Alberts is a harbinger of our culture’s changing relationship with death
and dying. He chose elective death through Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED)
rather than suffering the disassociated life of Alzheimer’s. His wife, Phyllis Shacter intimately
participated in Alan’s death. Together, they embody the emerging paradigm of couples, families
and friends embracing individual death as a shared experience through which all, the living and
the dead, are united in a heightened awareness of life, love and one another. ”

In this first Volume I, Phyllis tells Alan’s story through conversations they held until
Alzheimer’s silenced his voice.

In Volume II (toward the end of the magazine), released in September 2017, Phyllis shares her journey about her grieving processafter her husband died, and how that led her to the work she continues to do today, advocatingand educating others about elective death and expanding end of life choices. “I’m an advocate
for living into our dying, being aware of what is happening to us when it’s happening and not
denying it.”

If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the magazine, go to On the left side, click on “Order Print.”

Each Volume is a beautiful and heartfelt piece of art to enjoy and share with others.