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‘The Other Half of My Soul’: Widows of COVID-19 Bond Over Sudden Loss



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CHICAGO — One Friday evening, Sandra McGowan-Watts, a 46-year-old doctor from suburban Chicago, opened her laptop, stifled her nerves and told strangers on a Zoom call what had happened to her husband, Steven.

“He died by himself,” said Dr. McGowan-Watts, who joined the call after an invitation on a Facebook support group for widowed Black women. “Not being able to see him, being able to touch him, all of those things. The grief is kind of complicated.”

The women listening understood instantly. They were all widows of Covid-19.

For nearly two hours that summer night, their stories tumbled out, tales of sickness and death, single parenting and unwanted solitude, harrowing phone calls and truncated goodbyes.

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