MAY I congratulate Catherine Pepinster on her challenging article. However, she fails to acknowledge the long-term devastating impact of widowhood, which shakes to the core the structures on which we build family values.

In many cases there is sudden loss of income as the deceased's assets are effectively frozen prior to the drawn-out process leading to declaration of probate. Commonly the situation extends into a tailspin, from loss of income to loss of family home and the subsequent absence of support from neighbours and friends, leading to isolation. Losing a spouse is not only or merely losing a partner. It is recognised to be the single most significant life change and thus the most stressful. At this time, all resources are at their lowest ebb. It is thus inaccurate and insensitive to state "... we need to stop treating them as if they lost their brain and their earning potential while they wept at the graveside". The majority are incapable of weeping at the graveside because they are paralysed with shock. Loss of sleep, concentration, appetite, panic, anxiety and exhaustion hardly render the newly bereaved high flying applicants to the job market. The widow is at a loss because of her loss.


Mount Uniacke, Co Cork