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Connection and support for widows and widowers

Connection and support for widows and widowers

Stitch members are an inspiring lot. 

From hosting events that help members learn a new language, to facilitating informal get-togethers that help the community stay socially connected, Stitchers are volunteering so much of their time to enriching the life of so many of their fellow community members.

Three such members are Maree, Kim and Davina, co-organizers of the global Widows & Widowers Stitch group. All are generously dedicating their time to hosting events that are helping others come to terms with the loss of a loved one. 

The Widows & Widowers group was initially formed so widows and widowers could have a safe and inclusive micro-community on Stitch to belong to, reserved just for them. 

While many members joined the group and started connecting, many were hesitant to initiate discussions and suggest events, especially because of the challenging and sensitive nature of topics such as death, pain and grief. 

However with so many members joining the group, it was clear that something needed to be done to break the ice and get group members interacting more. 

Stitch’s founder Andrew hosted two kick-off events, inviting members from around the world to virtually connect and chat about how they’re feeling, reflect on and share some of their challenges, and get support from others who’ve experienced grief and loss themselves. 

The response and turnout was phenomenal! 

After the success of these first two events, it was clear that there was a lot of support for the idea of making these group get-togethers a regular occurrence. 

We were blown away by how many members put their hand up to volunteer and lead these group events going forward. Thank you so much to these generous and enthusiastic members who are dedicating their time to helping others overcome their pain and grief — the Widows & Widowers group wouldn’t be the success it currently is without your continued support! 

Read some of the inspiring volunteer stories below. 

Maree
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

I am not sure what I expected when I joined Stitch but what I did discover was an amazing community of real people to connect with and found new friendships and people easy to chat with.

As a widow of two years, I was struggling to rebuild my life after finding myself alone and very vulnerable. The loneliness I felt was almost like an illness, despite having a family (however they were busy struggling with their own grief).

I attended several video chats specific for widows and widowers on Stitch and felt a huge sense of relief and a sense of finding my “tribe” for want of a better word.

Sharing my story and listening to other people’s stories helped me realise I was not alone. It was good to realise that others understood and listened without judgement; the support was very real and beneficial.

Sharing my story and listening to other people’s stories helped me realise I was not alone.

Honestly, it’s such a relief not to have to put on the constant “brave face”.

So when Andrew (Stitch’s founder, who runs the Widows & Widowers group) called for volunteers to facilitate future video chats for members of this group, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and volunteer. I am now hosting video chats and learning on the job, so to speak.

I hope others find the same sense of being “home” as I do at Stitch. 

Kim 
Los Angeles, California, USA

I recently hosted a small group event as a volunteer leader for the Widows & Widowers group.

 As a widow myself who has had many years of experience leading various groups and who currently attends a virtual grief support group for widows and widowers within the Los Angeles area, I thought it would be rewarding to lead small events for people experiencing grief and loss.  

Even after the first group event, I had such positive responses from the participants, that I set up another event to occur in two weeks time. That event quickly filled up.

I feel grateful that I can provide support and knowledge through my events

During this time of so much fear, uncertainty, stress and loss, there’s such a need to provide support for anyone experiencing the loss of a partner, a family member, a friend or a loss due to other circumstances. 

I feel grateful that I can provide support and knowledge through my events. It has been a rewarding experience and I look forward to leading many more group events for the Widows & Widowers group. 

Davina
Roxburgh Park, Victoria, Australia

It’s hard to think about how to create and host an event that is going to support people who have lost their life partner that is fun! However, the people who attend my ‘Let’s Chat’ events in the Widows & Widowers group see the group’s conversations as supportive with a twist of fun.

Every invitation asks attendees to have a cuppa and cake or something else to drink. Hosting the event on a Saturday afternoon Australian Eastern Standard Time, we have been joined by people from the US who link in with us in the late evening of the Friday night before. 

The first chat was about dealing with the anniversaries such as birthdays and death days, and everyone was delighted to hear from one of our members in Tasmania. She shared her experience of supporting her children and grandchildren by dressing up in a fun costume and making a short film to share with them on the anniversary of their beloved’s passing. 

The people who attend my ‘Let’s Chat’ events in the Widows & Widowers group see the group’s conversations as supportive with a twist of fun

We shared different cultural customs. Some people speak the name of their loved ones often, to keep them alive. Others only refer to them according to the relationship, for example ‘my late husband’ because they don’t wish to disrupt the spirit of the deceased.  

In response to a member’s request to have a woman-only event to speak about the question To date or not to date, the next ‘Let’s Chat’ event for our group will be just for widows. The plan is to go back to allowing widowers to attend the month after if they wish. 

If you’re a widow or widower and feel that you either need support or could support others experiencing loss and grief, consider joining Stitch’s global Widows & Widowers group. 

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