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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 2, 2006

Widows push forward amid despair, loneliness

 •  Women's recipe for resilience: biology, psychology, instinct

By Susan Brink
Los Angeles Times

Giving to her 18-month-old daughter was life-saving, says Ingrid Weiss-Salveson, 45, of Mount Baldy, Calif. That's how old her child was when her husband, a firefighter, died in 1995. The shock of young widowhood sent her into despair.

But she always knew she had to get out of bed each morning. "What kept me grounded was my daughter," says Weiss-Salveson. "Ashley made me smile every day. She gave me the will to live and move on."

Later in life, grown children often return the favor, providing support to mothers left alone. A year and a half after her husband's death, Florence Halpern, 76, of Los Angeles, still misses the companionship of the man who always had a smile for her. But her sons are good weekend company, and her five grandchildren are potential companions for the travel she still wants to do. She keeps her calendar filled with volunteer work at the Jewish Home for the Aging, lectures, mah-jongg and an occasional bus trip to see an opera.

"I cry. And then I make a plan," she says. "I do things I've never done before."