By Stephanie Manley
FAIR HAVEN – Becky Aikman, a former reporter for Newsday, experienced a tragedy no wife should ever have to endure – the loss of her husband.
Aikman, who lost her husband to cancer, found a way to ameliorate her grief by forming a support group with five friends. Subsequently, she wrote a book, Saturday Night Widows: The Adventure of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives, describing the trials and tribulations of daily life as a widow.
Kathy Cesario of Rumson read the book and was so “inspired and taken” that she contacted Aikman to express her gratitude and admiration. After several email exchanges between Cesario and Aikman and a discussion with the folks at River Road Books, it was agreed that the author would come to the area for a book signing and to speak with widows in the Two River area.
Cesario, a widow herself, is also part of a local support group. After the passing of her husband, Cesario participated in a six-week Monmouth Medical Center program tailored for women like her. During those sessions, Cesario and four women she met at the group – all “younger-than-average” widows – continued to meet beyond the program’s end. The group meets once a month and Cesario says the women have formed “great bonds.”
Both Cesario and River Road Books owner, Laurie Potter, have been hard at work to ensure the Aikman event engenders positive attitudes and friendships for widows in the area.
Potter, who will host the event at her store in Fair Haven at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, says there has been a “great response.” Thirty people have signed up so far and she hopes for more participants by the time the event occurs.
While authors typically speak and read an excerpt from their work followed by a Q-and-A session, Potter said the Aikman event will be “very different” and “much more emotional” with “a lot of dialog.”
Cesario wants others to feel optimistic. Saturday Night Widows provided such a “fun and upbeat” escape for Cesario that it altered her outlook on life and her situation. Cesario hopes the event sparks these feelings in others. Her main goal, she says, is to “help women” like herself and create bonds among widows in the community.
Those interested in attending are asked to contact River Road Books by calling 732-747-9455 or emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.