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Posted July 10, 2009

Book: A Catholic Approach to Widowhood: A Journey with Mary
Author: Roberta Charneski
St. Pauls, Staten Island, NY. 2009. Pp. 57

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

“Roberta Charneski’s A Catholic Approach to Widowhood meditates on the many aspects of grief that touch the painful moments leading to the death of a loved one. That may be a sudden tragic one or the prolonged agony that can cause lover and beloved to intensify their affection for one another. As on lady put it, ‘I had done everything for my mother that I could before she died. I spent my vacations with her in her declining years. I remembered her love for me, and wanted to nourish her with warmth and affection.’”

“But Roberta Charneski goes much further by charting the course of grief that occurs after death. She explores her own sorrows caused by the sudden loss of her teenaged son as well as her daughter’s unexpected widowhood. But above all she identifies with the grief of our Blessed Mother Mary who mourned the death of Joseph and then walked with what we might compare to the Stations of the Cross with her son, Jesus. Roberta’s success in making these links with Mary reflects her own contemplative spirit. Only a loving faith can deal with this mystery and this is the secret of this moving book.”

An Excerpt from the Book:


As the days, weeks and months passed she made a courageous effort to continue with her responsibilities. She carried a heavy burden and kept it hidden like a secret. She missed him so much.

When she would notice his friends going on with life or when the seasons changed she became mindful of what he would be doing. She wanted to reach out and pull him back. She felt so alone with her loss.

Mary, I woke up this morning with a sick feeling in my stomach. I’m afraid of being alone. It feels like a huge void, a big black hole that I can’t reach across. He’s on the other side and I’m helpless here. He’s no longer in the familiar places he used to be. Not in his chair, not in the yard or garage, not at the dinner table or watching TV. Even with family around me, I can’t stand his absence; I feel such emptiness.

Mary, St. Joseph’s absence must have grieved you in a similar manner. He was so protective of you and your Son. He was so kind. So much of your life and memories revolved around him. You, too, must have felt a void in your everyday activities. How did you cope? After he died, did it hurt and scare you as it does me? Yes, you had your Son, Our Lord Jesus, with you but I have Him too. Please ask Him to bless me during this difficult time. I need the gift of His strength to get through this loneliness. Everyone tells me that I have to go on with life, but I need help in order to do that. Right now, at this time, I have no desire to be strong. I’m just so lonely.

Pray for me, Mary, that Our Lord will grant me the courage to go on, finding a new purpose in my life.

Holy Mary, Mother of my Lord, please ask your Son to sanctify my sorrow.

Table of Contents:

Conversations with Mary



Remarks from others

Guilt and remorse


Single parenting



Physical distress


Social isolation

It’s his birthday




Best friends

Still concerned – the communion of saints



Surrender – trust in God


Mary my inspiration


Most Holy Mother

Holy Mary, Mother of my Lord, Please ask your Son to sanctify my sorrow

We remember them

Grief and Mourning

Thoughts on grief and mourning

From death to birth