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A Widower’s Wake-up Call

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By Herb Knoll

Author: The Widower’s Journey

“The entire floor misses your laughter,” said the young female staff member standing at my office door.  It had been just four months since my bride, Michelle Knoll, had earned her angel wings following her 39 month battle against pancreatic cancer.  She died on March 7, 2008.  “They’re missing my laughter!”  Wow!  A real wake-up call if there ever was one. I knew I needed help in dealing with my grief, and I intended on finding it. 

During the days ahead, I visited my church, a counselor at Veterans Administration and my local Barnes & Noble bookstore.  “What do you have for a new widower” I inquired of the clerk behind the counter. The attendant typed “widower” into his computer’s search engine and then looked up at me, almost apologetically saying, “Mister, I don’t have a damn thing for you.”  How could this be?  Nothing?  

Those words spoken to me by the bookstore’s clerk changed my life in ways too numerous to count. There was no way I was willing to accept the apparent lack of materials available to widowed men. Someone needed to write a book for men, and I decided on that very day, that person was me.  As it turns out, later, I did find a few books written for widowers, but they were few in number and inadequate at best. Within a few months, I resigned my position as a senior executive at a nationwide bank and rededicated my life to the service of men who grieve.  I embarked on a new journey, a new purpose in which I would tirelessly, and without compensation, endeavor to research the world of widowers and then make my findings available to those who mourn.

What I discovered should frighten us all. According to one report, 155,000 people die each day around the world.  If just 1-5 are the wives of married men, that’s 31,000 new widowers each day.  There are 420,000 new widowers each year in America alone.  One in five men in America will eventually be widowed with many of them becoming double widowers. In total, there are about 2.7 million widowers in America. In spite of these numbers, few people are able to name even one widower. That’s because men draw little attention to themselves when grieving. That’s because men do not believe they have permission to grieve.  As a result, widowers withdraw from many facets of society and grieve in the shadows. This is precisely when their trouble begins.

Widowed men have an increased rate of suicide that is 3-4 times greater than that of married men.  They suffer from grief of course, but many widowers also suffer from problems such as substance abuse, alcoholism, diabetes, hypertension, and other ailments.  Sixty-five percent will have a life-threatening illness within twelve months of their wife’s passing. Others suffer from financial concerns, career problems, legal problems, and more, why still others become angry with the Almighty.  Many have difficulty dealing with family members including their own children while still others become the prey of predator women or the victim of poor choices they have made in response to their grief.

To help widowers address these and other challenges, I established the Widowers Support Network (WSN) in 2014, (www.WidowersSupportNetwork.com) whose mission it is to comfort and support widowers and the families who love them.  WSN also supports men who are caregivers for seriously ill or terminally ill spouses. All service provided by WSN is free.

After nine years of research, supported by the candid participation of over forty widowers from across America, as well as the counsel provided by fifteen subject matter experts from the fields of sociology, psychology, law, consumer finance, religion and more, WSN released The Widower’s Journey (2017) in paperback and all digital formats. See Amazon.com.

Today, WSN serves widowers and caregivers from eighteen countries, and its geographic reach is growing rapidly. The Widower’s Journey has become the definitive breakout book of choice for widowers everywhere.  As one widower said it, “The Widower’s Journey is not the kind of book you read only one time.”  And given the book’s substantive content, women love it too! 

During coming months, and thanks to Men n’ More, you will be able to enjoy reading a series of articles about widowers and the world in which they are confronted.  Each piece will be laced with detailed research as well as best practices.  

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Knoll appears on Open to Hope

On this show, Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley interview Herb Knoll and Annah Elizabeth about Active Grieving: Writing Through Grief.  Herb Knoll, the author of The Widower’s Journey, lost his wife, Michelle to cancer.  He is the founder of the Widowers Support NEtwork, and advocate, and speaker on spouse loss.  Annah Elizabeth, lost her son, following unexpected complications during delivery.  She is the author of Digging for the Light, a contributor to Grief Diaries, and developer of The Five Facets Philosophy on Healing, a groundbreaking guide that helps us live our best lives.

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Widowers Support Network – Members Only

A Facebook page for Men only.

Sometimes – men need to share some “guy talk.” You know… sports, cars, tips about home repair, how to meet women, how to boil an egg, and of course, how to overcome grief. No topic is off limits. This need was the genesis of WSN creating, Widowers Support Network – Members Only, a Facebook page for widowed men and those men with seriously ill spouses.

Men who subscribe to this free service will find how the Widowers Support Network – Members Only will enable them to make new friends across America and beyond. Subscribing will also allow men to feel more open to sharing their thoughts and challenges, no matter what they are. Membership is like having a personal advisory board that is committed to assisting you during your grief journey.

Also eligible to apply are subject matter experts (sorry ladies but male experts only) who are willing to share their advice with members of Widowers Support Network – Members Only and do so free of charge. Experts from a wide variety of fields (law, medicine, personal finance, psychology, sociology, theology, auto mechanics, culinary arts, agriculture, horticulture, etc.) are encouraged to apply.

​To join in on the fun, go to Widowers Support Network – Members Only on Facebook. Did I mention this service is open to men living anywhere in the world? Apply today.

Find out more.

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INTERVIEW: W4WN Radio

Nov. 15, 2017 Author of the new breakout book, The Widower’s Journey, Herb Knoll will be the guest of a syndicated talk show, broadcasted from the Ft. Myers, Florida studios of W4WN Radio (Women 4 Women Network). The host of the show is Camille Sanzone, author of AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE? TIE KNOT & HANGE ON!

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INTERVIEW: Connections Radio

June 7, 2017  Life After Death.  How do you live life after your sugnificant other had died?  This was the theme presented by Connections Radio (WTKS 104.1 FM Orlando, WWPR 1490 AM Tampa and WYGC 104.9 FM Gainesville, Florida). Author Herb Knoll was the exclusive in-studio guest featured.

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INTERVIEW: WBBZ-TV

Herb Knoll was the on-air guest of WBBZ-TV “716 Daily Buzz” (Buffalo, NY) Herb shared insights he gained when writing and then publishing his new book, The Widower’s Journey.

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Village Neighbors – Meet Herb Knoll

Meet Herb Knoll Author of the Widower’s Journey: Helping Men Rebuild After Their Loss.






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Good News

November Edition, 2014
By Micki Morrison
Realtor
“Meet Herb Knoll”

It will probably not surprise you that in my work as a Realtor, I meet some of the most amazing, interesting and inspiring people on the planet.  From a WWII fighter jet pilot to the mother of eight children who has survived amazing challenges and demonstrated strength and courage throughout it all, each customer and friend teaches me something beautiful about life and the goodness that resides in each and every one of us.

In this month’s edition of “Good News”, I would like to introduce you to a man who has transformed pain and tragedy into purpose and healing while changing the lives of souls in need along the way.  Meet Herb Knoll.

When I first met Herb at a listing appointment in The Villages, I didn’t expect to encounter such an empowering story of transcendence and healing. Herb moved to The Villages shortly after the passing of his beloved wife, Michelle Renee’ Knoll.  Herb, a man with an impressive business background and extensive resources, instinctively went in search for help in dealing with his profound grief.  Certainly someone understood that men and women cope with the loss of a spouse differently and there would be something available which spoke specifically to men about the grieving process.  To his surprise, there was very little help available for widowers and their families.

From his church to the self-help bookshelves of the local Barnes and Noble book store, Herb could not find a resource which would help him, as a man and recent widower, cope and navigate the healing process.  It was then that he decided to turn his personal quest into a book which would comfort and assist other widowers with their grief as well.  The book which is currently being written is titled: The Widower’s Journey

To write Herb’s book, he interviewed forty of what he refers to as Contributing Widowers from across America, representing a wide variety of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.  The circumstances surrounding the passing of their wives range from tragic auto accidents and being struck by a car, to prolonged illnesses.  One wife died in her twenties when she was deployed by the U.S. Air Force to Afghanistan where she contracted leukemia, leaving three young children behind.   As he interacted with his team a widowers, Herb looked to identify the risks and challenges widowers face and the methods and best practices they used in dealing with them.   And there are plenty of challenges to be dealt with including but not limited to: grief, raising children, careers, relationships with family and in-laws, dating, and some serious health considerations.

Herb also recruited a team of experts who are lending their professional skills to the lessons Herb will be sharing.  Members of this A-Team include two psychologists, a certified financial planner, a Catholic priest, a Rabbi, a clinical psychologist, an attorney and more.  The Widower’s Journey is laced with actionable steps the reader can immediately put to work.  Whether the reader is slowly losing a spouse to Alzheimer’s or has been faced with a sudden and unexpected loss, this book is both a blessing and a comfort.

Reading the personal stories contained in Herb’s latest work will move its readers into a sense of fraternity with those who graciously provided their experiences for their collective benefit.  Finally, men and their friends and families who want to comfort them, have a guide which helps them navigate the unchartered waters of losing a spouse and finding a life renewed in the process. Thank you Herb!

For information on how to order your copy of The Widower’s Journey, you can do so by either contacting Herb Knoll at: 407.878.1514 or visiting Herb’s website: WidowersSupportNetwork.com

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