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Short and Sweet Summary: Grief support groups won’t erase the crushing pain. But they will give you a place to validate your feelings and make your grief less isolating. Several grief support options for widows are available if you know where to look.
Grief support was a monumental part of our lives in the early weeks and months after my husband’s death. I’m fortunate to live in an area where I found several grief support options for widows including a local grief support group that provided family grief services, catering to children and teens.
More specifically, it was so important for my kids to interact with other kids their ages who also lost a parent.
We attended bi-monthly meetings for two years. It was a welcome respite from the isolating feelings of death and grief. Before we attended grief support everything seemed so bleak.
As a result, the dark clouds slowly lifted as I learned we were definitely not alone.
Grief support groups won’t offer a magic wand to erase the crushing pain. But they will give you a place to validate your feelings. And discover different coping mechanisms to deal with the devastation and finality of death. Sharing your grief journey with others walking a similar path can be a cathartic experience.
How about surrounding yourself with people experiencing similar things? If you’re looking to give yourself a break from loneliness, boredom and suffocating grief, get out. Get to a group. And get to commiserating.
THE WIDOW SQUAD
One thing most widows wish for is a place to feel supported. They want to know if other widows feel like they do (even though they don’t always know what they’re feeling) or have similar experiences.
I mean, we all just want to know whether we’re “normal,” right?!
So I teamed up with two of my widow besties to create The Widow Squad, an online membership for widows to come together for clarity, connection and comfort. A place to minimize your anxiety and confusion by connecting with like-minded widows, learn tools and strategies for moving forward with ease, and grow your confidence for doing hard things.
This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill online membership with a few Zoom calls here and there.
Oh no, no, no.
We’re talking about an online membership where you’ll learn how to design a life you want to live, find the skills to do things you’ve never done before, figure out who you are now that you’re flying solo, learn the difference between moving forward and moving on, AND get all kinds of support along the way.
A place for you to:
- Share your story and collaborate with other widows to feel less alone
- Get paired up with widows in similar situations and/or demographics for specialized topics (think solo-parenting, dating or remarried, empty nesters, or entrepreneurs)
- Get your “how do I?” questions answered in our Widow Workshop series
- Learn from experts and other widows who have come before you in the monthly Guest speaker series
- Have access to a Resource Library with extra goodies like mindful meditations, journal prompts, and workbooks
Learn more about the Widow Squad here.
NATIONAL BEREAVEMENT RESOURCE GUIDE
Eluna is a public, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide comfort, hope, and healing to families affected by loss and addiction.
The whole website is chock-full of grief support options for widows of all age ranges and issues. I am amazed at the breadth and depth of information available.
But the most valuable thing I found was the National Bereavement Resource Guide that compiles grief organizations by state and local resources.
Just click on your region/state and view a PDF of grief organizations and grief camps right in your area.
Do you need a checklist for the newly widowed?
If you’re a recent widow whose overwhelm is at an all-time high because you struggle with indecision about what post-death tasks to complete first, when to complete them and how to get it all done, don’t worry. This course can help!
SOARING SPIRITS INTERNATIONAL
What’s more, the entire website is a plethora of information for widows. So don’t just stop at the grief support options. Check out all the widow resources and ways to get involved.
However, if you can’t find a regional grief support option, considering starting a chapter yourself!
Most hospices provide grief support groups and are even open to those who never used hospice services.
A quick Google search of “hospice near me” should point you in the right direction of a local hospice organization in your area.
For example, I found the Hospice of Michigan during a Google search and I clicked on the link for Patients and Loved Ones. The Grief Support link under the Services section listed a whole host of grief support groups offered in my area including one specific to those who like to crochet. I don’t crochet but I’d be glad to find a crochet grief support group if I did!
If you looked at the National Bereavement Resource Guide above, you’d likely see many hospice grief support options sprinkled in with other local resources.
Additionally, Hospice also offers newsletters, weekly affirmation emails, and other ways to connect. It’s a terrific resource for all things grief-related.
What most people know is that Easter Seals provides services to children and adults with disabilities or special needs.
However, what most people don’t know is their Mental Health services offer grief resources and referrals to services like cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, interpersonal therapy, and support groups.
Some Easter Seals locations, like the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic in Michigan, offer mental health services to people in crisis or who have experienced trauma, including children.
Don’t think their services are limited to people with disabilities. The Easter Seals contact I spoke to in Michigan said their services would be a good fit for widows and children who lost a parent.
If you’re having trouble finding suitable grief support and/or therapy options, contact your local Easter Seals. They’ll help you learn about all of the services and resources available to you. They can help you regardless of ability to pay or insurance status.
LOCAL YOUTH ASSISTANCE GROUPS
Many schools partner with local youth assistance groups to provide confidential, short-term, family-centered counseling and referral services for young people and their families.
To list, services typically offered by youth assistance groups include improving communication between parents and their children, understanding child development, and enhancing parenting skills. The referral services from a licensed social worker can help you figure out what program is best for your family.
Additionally, these services can be beneficial to solo-parent widows who need a little extra help and support for kids with grief or non-grief related issues. Youth Assistant Programs offer many options for helping parents deal with children’s not-so-good behavior like substance abuse, truancy, or incorrigibility.
Specifically, reach out to your school district or specific county government office to learn more about youth assistance programs in your area.
OTHER GRIEF SUPPORT OPTIONS FOR WIDOWS
Other places to consider finding grief support options would be:
I found a grief counselor through the local funeral home we used for my husband’s memorial services. Her services helped me tremendously before my husband died. I needed help figuring out how to tell our kids their dad was terminal. She was an invaluable resource with over 20 years of experience in death and dying who helped me specifically with what to say and do.
Undoubtedly, I’m sure your local funeral home has a wealth of information at the ready for you regarding grief resources. I mean, they’re in the death business. They are a good source of information.
Another great local resource is Meetup. You can search for ways to meet new people, find support, and get out of your comfort zone. All right in your own community.
Specifically, try searching “grief support” or “widows” or whatever term you’re interested in finding and you’ll see what meetups are available in your area.
To clarify, grief support doesn’t have to be people sitting around a table talking. You might find a grief support group that takes hikes. Or likes to golf. Realistically, if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can always start your own meetup.
Grief support horseback riding, anyone?
Hospitals are a wealth of information for grief support groups. They provide resources to reach just about every age and/or type of loss imaginable because they are a huge part of every community.
While viewing a hospital website, search for resources under “spiritual support” or “support groups” or “grief support.” You’re sure to find a suitable group that fits your specific needs.
You don’t have to be a member of a church to attend a grief support group there. Many churches make rooms available to hold meetings for area groups and organizations but the meetings are non-denominational.
For example, the local grief support group my kids and I attended was conducted in several rooms of a local Baptist church. But the meeting itself was not religiously based and had nothing to do with the Baptist church or its tenets.
WIDOW WRAP UP
I urge you to get out and seek the company of other grievers who can sympathize with you and who understand your current state of mind.
When you talk to other folks who have gone through similar pain, it makes your grief less isolating. You learn you’re not alone in your feelings or your situation. Someone somewhere has gone through something very similar to you.
I think it helps to seek out those people and assist each other through our hardest, darkest days.
- Learn How to Move Grief to a Supporting Role
- Concrete Steps to take When Your Support System Disappears
- Managing Grief: 7 Things Widows Forget to Do
- This is What I Didn’t Know About Widowhood
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