In 2010, Andrea’s husband, Sergeant Edward Bolen, died in combat in Afghanistan when she was just twenty-five years old. From the moment the two soldiers arrived at her doorstep with the devastating news, to the struggles of the following months and years, she shares frankly about the raw pain of losing not only her husband but herself. She learned the hard way that if given the chance, grief takes and takes until you become little more than the labels cast upon you. She wasn’t Andrea anymore. She was the Widow.
Her story is more than a tale of the emotional imprisonment of grief and the devastating price of lost innocence. It is a testament to rebuilding a broken life, and a message of hope for those who are as lost as she once was. She found healing, acceptance, and love, and discovered her own enduring well of strength.
I became a military widow at the age of twenty-five. Several years later, I began journaling as a form of therapy. While I uncovered truths about myself, I simultaneously discovered a story with the power to help others. Rather than reframe the work into a typical, self-help format, I focused on creating an intensely personal narrative.
It took me 6 years to write my story. “Who Are You Calling a Widow?” targets not only the military community, but anyone drawn to the widow’s perspective, whether or not they have suffered a loss. I hope to light a candle of hope for those who need it, and offer necessary advice to those uncertain of how to engage someone in the midst of grief.
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