I never wanted to be a part of this club.
I never imagined when I was a bride sailing down the aisle at age twenty-five that twelve years later I would be living “‘til death do us part.” This wasn’t part of the plan or part of a future I had ever imagined.
I am a widow.
That word defines me in some sense as one who has lost a husband. It also reminds me that I have loved and grieved deeply.
I remember the early days of my widow journey when the grief was fresh and the future seemed ominous. I was hungry and grateful to connect with other widows who had been down the path. I looked to them for hope, guidance, and assurance that survival was possible. I didn’t dare dream, but they helped me believe there was a way forward.
Friends like Janine and Patty were golden to me as they gently took my arm and said, “This way.” They reminded me each grief journey is unique. They recognized and acknowledged my pain. They pointed me back to the God of comfort.
They also invited me to join a monthly gathering called GIG (Gals in Growth) in our area that was designed to bring together young widow mamas to share stories of grief and encouragement with one another. That group quickly became my lifeline to help me see that I truly was not alone, and I am forever grateful for them and hope to offer this same support to other women.
I recently linked arms with three other widows who are mamas to launch the Widow Mama Collective. This is an online group meeting on Facebook to offer regular support, community, and resources to widow mamas. Women can join for free by requesting to join the group and answering a few brief questions.
My heart is filled with gratitude to link arms with Lisa Appelo, Tara Dickson, and Becky McCoy. They are writers, speakers, and podcasters who share my heart for supporting widow mamas by telling our stories. We all met through an online writing group called Hope*writers, but we live in different parts of the country and have different stories. We are all mamas as well as being widows, which adds a unique element to journeying through grief while navigating it for our children as well. Our desire is to offer support and encouragement to other dear women who are in the trenches.
When I’ve had opportunities to speak for events or write online, I often hear from women who are widowing alone. They have little support or very little contact with other widows, and their children do not have connection with others whose daddies are in heaven.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul talks about the power of sharing comfort with others:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
God is the Father of compassion, our example and our very real comfort through trials. He had special provision for widows all throughout the Bible, and Jesus wept with His friends when they were grieving. He lifted them up and offered them grace in times of need. My deep desire is to do the same.
Friends, when we share our stories and our experiences with others, community is forged, and grief is often less heavy. May we be women of courage who stand in the gap to listen and comfort one another as Christ did.
Are you a widow? Do you have a friend, neighbor, relative who is mothering and grieving? Please extend the invitation to her to join the Widow Mama Collective. We do not want any widow to navigate her grief and faith alone.
When we share our stories and our experiences with others, community is forged, and grief is often less heavy. #widowmamacollective -@DorinaGilmore: Click To Tweet