Widows’ Group Offers Support, Healing by Lenore Franzen

When my husband Chris died suddenly at age 59, then my mother five days later, my world changed forever. I had little experience with loss on this scale, even less understanding of grief. I kept busy with settling two estates, a full-time job, and maintaining my house and yard. I didn’t have time to mourn. I didn’t know how to mourn.

Gradually, I realized that I’d isolated myself and there was little comfort in being alone.

While grieving is essential to healing, “Healing is impossible in loneliness,” writes Wendell Berry. “To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation.”

This past January, I invited a group of women—all widows from Gloria Dei—to my house. As a long-time member, I was fortunate to know most of these women well. I’d had individual conversations with them about their loss. Now I wondered if we might benefit from sharing some informal time together around our shared experience.

We have been meeting ever since. We call ourselves The Sisterhood. Some of us have been widowed recently, some more than twenty years.

Our group does not take the place of grief counseling. We are women on the same journey, sharing our stories and, more often than not, finding comfort and connection when we gather.

Since we began meeting, several other people at Gloria Dei have lost a loved one. Over time, more and more of us will find ourselves alone.

If you are widowed or have had someone you love die, I encourage you to consider such a group.

If you don’t know others at church who have had a similar experience but would like to be part of an informal grief group, talk to one of the pastors or our parish nurse, Jill Stewart. They can connect you.

If you’d like help starting a group, a few of us from The Sisterhood would be happy to serve as mentors.

Conversations are underway to offer other resources around loss and grief to members of Gloria Dei and the surrounding community. If you have suggestions for a topic or speaker, let Jill Stewart or one of the pastors know.

Gloria Dei has long been a wonderful, supportive community for me. It’s here where Chris and I were married and raised our children. It’s here where we explored our faith and developed deep friendships. And it is here where I continue to experience the healing power of the body of Christ.

Contact Lenore for more information.