WPP 009: Dr. Justin Yopp, co-author of The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life

You’re not alone. There are many, many people out there going through the same thing as you. You do not have to be perfect. You were not perfect before your husband or wife or partner died, and you don’t need to be perfect now. Give yourself some leeway. Be self-forgiving, and be patient with yourself. You’re going to drop a lot of balls. You’re going to sometimes feel like it’s overwhelming. You’re going to feel like you’re not sure you can do this, or you don’t know how to move forward. You’re going to have questions abound. Rely on your friends and family, even if they can’t fully appreciate it. Give yourself some space; this takes time. There’s no clock on this, no time limit.
— Dr. Justin Yopp
Yopp pic.jpg

I had such a great discussion with Dr. Justin Yopp of the University of North Carolina for this episode. Justin is a clinical psychologist and is co-author of the book, “The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life.”

I really enjoyed our wide-ranging discussion. It was a fascinating mix of practical and academic, and included some great stories from the widowed dads in the book about their experiences. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • the dual process model of coping and bereavement;

  • post-traumatic growth;

  • the concept of being a ‘good enough’ parent;

  • the unique hardships of being a widowed father; and

  • the research into the needs of widowed parents being conducted at UNC.

By the way, if you’re a widowed mom or dad with kids 18 & under at home, and widowed less than three years, I’d encourage you to answer the survey on their web site…this is such important work and, surprisingly, there is very little research that’s been done on the needs of widowed parents.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Dr. Justin Yopp.

Links & resources for this episode


The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, by Donald Rosenstein and Justin Yopp

Overlooked and underserved: Widowed fathers with dependent-age children, journal article in Palliative and Supportive Care, by Dr. Justin Yopp et al, 2015

UNC research survey – for widowed moms & dads with kids 18 & under at home, who have lost spouse / co-parent within the past 3 years

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

More links for listeners

Take Action Against Cancer - day of service Feb 4 - for cancer widows & families turning grief into action

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