Military Widow Survival Guide

As always, this Friday’s post can be found on the MILSPOUSE page where I participate in a weekly roundup of spouses. However, I want to take a moment to introduce you to my friend Joanne Steen. Joanne’s husband died when his Navy helicopter crashed and she faced what the wives of the 30 lost Americans are facing now – young widowship, a future counting the comparison of days with and without her husband, a military “divorce” of sorts, and a big pile of red tape. I had the good fortune of meeting Joanne in Washington D.C. last April and let me tell you – she’s got the kind of amazing spirit (and wry sense of humor) that reflects her journey.

military widow survival guideShe has written an equally spirited and sometimes wry book that I want you all to know about called Military Widow, A Survival Guide which even has the backing of the DoD: it is included in every military widow’s casualty assistance package. I wrote a story this week about how the collective military spouse heart stopped for a moment the morning of Saturday, August 6, 2011, as news of the downed chopper spread across the world.

Joanne was one of the first women I thought of in that moment, and if your heart was pierced too, you understand the importance of Joanne’s work.

I know. You don’t want to read a book about military widows. But let me tell you – you do. If you are a military wife then at some point you will be around people suffering through military loss, and it’s the most valuable resource out there. Joanne literally “wrote the book” on this topic. And not only that, it isn’t the sappy woe-filled tale you’d expect. It’s laced with Joanne’s phenomenal sense of humor that she claims all widows develop – at one point even remarking, “Arlington National Cemetary is not a PCS move.”

Hats off to Joanne for having the bravery to turn her experience into something that could help others. Check out her website for Military Parents as well.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Casey
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 22:54:13

    My husband was killed last month in Afghanistan and my CACO gave me this book with my “packet.” I have just started reading it and it is chock full of words I needed to hear. Feelings are validated and things that I hadn’t thought of yet are enlightening. Thank you!


    • Lori Volkman @ Witty Little Secret
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 20:52:58

      Casey, sending out prayers to you. It means a lot when your feelings are validated by someone who has been there. Joanne told me lots of stories last year and I know it’s hard work but she does it exactly because of the message you just wrote. I’m going to send her a message and let her know what you said. God speed on your healing process. Love, Lori.


    • Joanne Steen
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 09:37:12

      Casey, I’m sorry for the loss of your husband in the service of our country. I send you my heart-felt sympathy on the profound loss of him. There’s an old saying that everyone loves a man in uniform…but military wives and widows – really love – their men in uniform!! I’m grateful that ‘Military Widow: A Survival Guide’ is helping to validate your feelings. Keep reading and reach out to others to help you. Sending a big hug your way, Joanne Steen


  2. DogBoy
    Aug 14, 2011 @ 04:24:44

    Love wry humor!


  3. deyank
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 09:29:46

    I just ordered the book from Amazon after reading just five pages. A wonderful book.


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