Widowed Friends helps support positive changes to the well being of widows and widowers in our communities through inclusion and friendship.
Months after devastating loss, Stephanie Etherington asked herself, “What do I do now?
Life completely changed following the death of her husband and she found herself alone and socially isolated as a young widow. Her past was no longer a shared history; the future she imagined no longer existed. The only way forward meant a complete life transformation.
With inspiration from the friendships within her bereavement group, Stephanie realized the importance of widows and widowers forming new connections and friendships with others who shared similar experiences. She started to look for other widows and widowers like herself who were trying to break out of their loneliness.
Stephanie’s insight led to the first small gathering of “widowed friends” which grew into the creation of a new and unique community for widows and widowers. Today, the group is thriving with Stephanie as founder, along with Lesley Morris, Communications and PR, and Penny Ryan, Events Coordinator
The idea behind Widowed Friends is to provide a community where widows and widowers can find meaning again within a safe community of friends who understand loss and the feelings they’re going through. In keeping with the organization’s mission to “empower widows and widowers to take steps to rebuild their lives and create a positive future”, the butterfly was chosen for the logo because of its message of hope and transformation
As the group continued to grow, there was another kind of disruption—a global pandemic.
This time, transformation was thrust upon the world when shutdowns, masks, and social distancing, changed all our expectations, disrupted plans, wreaked havoc with social lives, and added a new dimension of uncertainty to the future
All of this led to a complete re-thinking of the organization—a transformation for Widowed Friends, particularly in the way in which the organization connected with those looking for others to share their journey. “We realized that virtual platforms offered many opportunities to connect with existing and new members and provided a variety of services and support from social get togethers, guest speakers, sessions focused on loss and even virtual bingo games,” reports Stephanie.
Today, if you are newly widowed or widowed for many years, the Widowed Friends community is here for you. We are a social community focusing on building new friendships and rebuilding lives. Being together as virtual friends or in-person, brings new confidence, and a tremendous relief that it is possible to start again.
As Stephanie reminds her widowed friend’s, “Our lives are going to be different, there is no question. But this doesn’t mean we can’t find some happiness, some joy and make new friends. And it’s okay to feel that joy when it comes along.”
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What Our Members Say…
"Joining Widowed Friends Zoom meetings is like walking into your living room and finding all your friends there! It's been wonderful to have so many Zoom meetings each week to connect with others and feel a part of a larger community. "
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that works so hard in the group for providing this network for people like myself and others.
I have never joined a group like this and was hesitant at first. I was welcomed and felt a sense of belonging and a real connection.
I felt alone and isolated due to Covid until I joined Widowed Friends. I quickly made friends and found others with something in common. They get it. I value the time, effort and support from the group. It’s a life saver.
Widowed Friends has helped ease my new journey into widowed life since we are all of like minds. It has helped make my life more meaningful.
I can’t come close to expressing my gratitude and love for our Widowed Friends group.
Being widowed, lonely, then moving to Oakville and only knowing my son and his family, Widowed Friends has been a godsend to me. With this group I met lovely new friends and this group opened up for me a wonderful new life with lots of social activities.
Since joining Widowed Friends, my loneliness and sadness, as a result of my wife’s death, have decreased. This personal change, is due to the warm interactions, offered to me, from the many widows and widowers I meet, at the socials. Thanks to everyone for your sincere caring.
I think it’s fair to say that Widowed Friends saved my life. My husband died of a particularly aggressive cancer last winter. The shock and tragedy of it shook all the joy out of me. I was so very lonely… Widowed Friends threw me a lifeline when I was drowning.