As a widow, she was entitled to his pension and perhaps other benefits. As an ex-wife, she was not entitled to those and he could leave them to his children (or mistress). She was able to successfully overturn the divorce and fend off the claims of his children from a prior marriage.
Lessons to be learned:
1. If a spouse is ill, it behooves the other spouse to stay married because a widow is generally better positioned financially than an ex-wife of the husband/ex-husband.
2. If a spouse tries to sell a house without telling the other spouse, the trust level in the marriage should become zero.
3. One woman’s apparently happy marriage can be another man’s misery.