The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures. When her husband died at 36, Christina Frangou was a statistical outlier: She soon discovered Widowhood statistics us there was a name for the phenomenon surrounding her devastating grief and the toll it takes on those left behind.
I sit cross-legged on a white mat spread on the bathroom floor and examine the rows of medication lined Widowhood statistics us on the shelf of the vanity — neat piles of green-and-white boxes of blood thinners, a rainbow of pill bottles, painkillers worth thousands of dollars.
I study the labels: Percocet, Zofran, Maxeran, dexamethasone. I wonder if a one-month supply of drugs intended to save a sick person's life is enough to end a healthy one's. It probably is if you consume them not as directed. Chew them, crush them, don't take with food. Take handfuls at the same time. But the order matters. I remember the day we brought these drugs home.
On our way out of the cancer centre, we stopped at the hospital pharmacy to fill his prescriptions. We sat as we waited nearly an hour for the medications to be prepared; Spencer was too tired to stand.
We stepped into the foyer our condo nervously. Our parents had come by to clean up the packaging and plastic needle covers the paramedics had tossed to the floor of our living room in a rush Widowhood statistics us week earlier before they whisked Spencer to emergency.
Neither of us was comfortable being home. We knew a fair amount about medicine and cancer Widowhood statistics us he, a surgeon; me, a medical journalist.
We knew Spencer's cancer was extraordinarily aggressive. In the three weeks after his diagnosis, cancer galloped through his body at a ruthless pace, laying claim to his kidneys, his lungs, his liver. In its wake, clots formed in his blood, threatening to block arteries and veins.
One had already clogged the vessel carrying blood to his liver, causing the organ to swell so large it extended across his abdomen and hogged any space that rightfully belonged to food.
Each day became a balancing act in blood consistency: At home that evening, right schedule at 7 o'clock, Spencer took his cancer medication, then vomited it up.
By Widowhood statistics us, he was peeing Widowhood statistics us blood clots and couldn't eat or drink. We reached our oncologist on his cellphone and he "Widowhood statistics us" we needed to return to hospital. Spencer and I lay down on our queen-size bed, on top of the white-and-beige duvet we'd received as a wedding present. On the other side of our open window, a bird tapped its beak on a metal vent. Spencer lay on his left side; his right ached too much to place pressure on it.
I nuzzled in behind him and put my nose to his back, where I imagined his diseased kidney to be. We wept like for half an hour.
Widowhood statistics us inhaled deeply and pretended that I was drawing cancer out of his body and into mine. That was the last time we were home together. Now, our home is my home. Spencer left everything to me; he'd no time to be more deliberate in his will.
The pile of medication in our bathroom — my bathroom, now — is a remnant of a life that no longer exists. I don't know whether to dispose of these drugs or keep them in case I need them to end my own life. The widowed are two and a half times more likely to die by suicide in the first year of widowhood than the general population. We are, in fact, more likely to die of many Widowhood statistics us There's a name for this in the scientific literature: It's dated now but a paper in the British Medical Journal explored death after bereavement.
It opens atypically for a scientific paper: Multiple studies in the last 40 years have confirmed these findings. A meta-analysis published in that looked at all Widowhood statistics us studies of the widowhood effect found widowhood is associated with per-cent higher risk of death compared to the married population.
The effect is most pronounced among younger widows and widowers, defined as those in their 40s and 50s. Every summer, the Banff Centre — the arts, culture and education incubator — offers a handful of established Widowhood statistics us writers the opportunity to spend a month-long residency developing a feature story under the guidance of faculty mentors.
The program encourages writers to explore new ideas in journalism and to experiment with creating a piece that might otherwise be difficult to complete. This is part of an occasional series in which The Globe and Mail is publishing a selection of those stories. The silent, secret grief of miscarriage.
How a stroke changed how I saw myself. We were in a fourth-floor hospital room facing the parking lot. My husband lay in a bed; directly beside it, the cot I slept in each night. A palliative-care doctor once told me that we die cell by cell until enough cells succumb that we cross over a line. But if you are watching the person you love the most die, you track their breaths, not cells.
When someone is dying, their breath slows. Ever-widening gaps form between the end of the exhale and the beginning of the next inhale. In that space, you, the watcher, wait to
Widowhood statistics us out if the unimaginable has happened. You don't know if this breath is the last one, or if there is another to come. When Spencer didn't inhale again, I waited and waited. I was overcome with fury when I felt my lungs expand to inhale while his remained still. Widowhood statistics us was now there, dead, and I remained here, alive.
I put my head on our hands, still intertwined, and I whispered to him over and over, "You were supposed to stay with me. In the next seconds, I committed a terrible first act for a widow, but I did not care. I wanted to delete the memory of what cancer had done to my husband. Once strong and so preternaturally warm that I'd put my cold feet on his stomach after a day of skiing, he'd grown so thin that his collarbones poked out from the neck of his hospital gown; his hands were cold, his fingers curled in like claws.
Adding insult to injury, his belly had swelled on his skinny frame as his abdomen filled with a cancery fluid due to liver failure.
Spencer said to me once, bitterly, in the middle of the night as we drank milk sitting on his bed, that cancer turned him into Humpty Dumpty. He'd "Widowhood statistics us" at the in his body. I thought I shouted it. My sister would tell me later it was a mumble, indiscernible. Ten bodies, plus Spencer and our two beds, blocked the space to the door of his hospital room. I stood up and moved quickly, so quickly that I tripped over someone's legs, falling into their lap.
I don't know whose. When I got to the door, I froze, knowing the hallway contained nurses and patients and our friends watching the door. They had seen the photograph of a white rose that a nurse taped to the door to indicate someone was dying in the room. When I walk out, they will know he is dead. My Widowhood statistics us minutes as a widow launched an ongoing education in how ill-prepared I was for this role. The charge nurse asked me "Widowhood statistics us" arrangements had been made for his body.
I answered her confidently; it was one thing I knew with certainty. She paused as she absorbed how far from the mark was my answer. I never thought about how a body goes from a hospital bed to a funeral home to ashes scattered on top of a favourite mountain. My dearest girlfriend offered to call her dad, a funeral-home director in Saskatchewan, for his recommendation.
A nurse asked me if I wanted to donate Spencer's corneas for transplant. I paused, then answered yes because Spencer had just graduated from surgical residency with a Widowhood statistics us in trauma. I was guided into the nurse's office and instructed to speak to a woman from the transplant centre on the phone.
After I gave my consent,
Widowhood statistics us woman on the phone told me in clear terms that she needed to put me on hold for a few minutes while Widowhood statistics us confirmed information on her end. I hung up because I misunderstood her instructions. I spent the first night at my parents' house. The next day, despite protests from my parents and Spencer's, I drove myself home, taking an unusual route because the city had flooded in the biggest storm in a century and my favourite road home was under water.
I had Widowhood statistics us the rain tinging off the ledge by our hospital room for four days straight — ting, ting, ting as Spencer lay dying. A nurse had told me that parts of the city close to our condo had been evacuated. As I drove home under a sunny sky, I saw the ordinarily blue waters
Widowhood statistics us the Bow River had overflowed their banks. Water flowed through streets of the downtown and nearby communities. Inside our house, Spencer's orthopedic surgery textbooks lay open on the dining-room table where he spent hours studying.
A duffel bag half-packed with ski gear had been left on the floor of the closet, marked for our upcoming move to California. On our fridge, a page ripped from a magazine, a kitchen for our dream home. Scenes from our life before cancer, interrupted by the visuals of life after cancer.
"Widowhood statistics us" Lance Armstrong's autobiography folded open on the coffee table. A canary-yellow plastic bin held a few used needles in the bathroom. When the pharmacist called us to the front, he handed us three white . I read a statistic that, on average, a widow loses 75 per cent of her. Learn about the widowhood effect, which raises the risk of death for people who survive death of their spouses.
Widowhood mortality risk increases for men if their wives' deaths were unexpected . We calculate descriptive statistics using HRS-provided weights, which are Widowhood statistics us to .
Marital trajectories and mortality among US adults.