After she became a widow, Marilyn C. O'Leary was surprised at her reaction to changing her status on Facebook. She was not yet comfortable referring to herself as widowed. That was one of the dilemmas she faced as a widow that seemed to be minor but was not. Another one was what should her new pair of shoes look like? Should she buy those orange patent leather wedges?The difficult questions beneath these superficial ones included who was she now that she wasn't a wife and a caregiver? What was her purpose in life now that her husband of fifty years had died twenty years after receiving a life-giving liver transplant? Did she want another relationship? Did she want to live alone? Why didn't other widows tell her how devastating the pain of loss would be? How could she express her feelings of loneliness and confusion, and did she even want to?Her pain and loss were followed by new insights, new experiences and new interests, including playing bluegrass music and finding new friends, and fulfillment at being able to fashion the life she now wanted for herself. While every woman's journey is different, certain experiences are common. Read these essays to discover what Marilyn discovered about her new life-that there was life after her husband's death, and after the pain came comfort and fulfillment.
How To Be A Widow is Marilyn C. O’Leary’s memoir of the surprising and not-so-surprising experiences after the death of her husband of fifty years. How To Be A Widow takes us from the days immediately after Jim’s passing to a new life five years later. With In Sickness and In Health and No One To Wake, this third book completes the trilogy of a journey from caregiving to being alone to accepting widowhood with all its challenges and gifts. Marilyn has also published two chap books with her long-time poetry group titled Quartet and Quintet. Her poetry has been published in Fixed and Free, Sin Fronteras, Beatlick Press, and Dos Gatos Press. Ms. O’Leary is a retired New Mexico water attorney. She clerked for the N.M. State Engineer while attending law school, then worked as counsel, executive director, and commissioner at the N.M. Public Service Commission. She practiced water law and utility law in private practice before becoming Director of the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the UNM School of Law. Since retirement she has become a licensed professional life coach.