You know what I love about this group? We are evidence that on the darkest of dark days...we are going to get through it. This organization is composed of such remarkable women. Women who help me focus on the horizon; proof that no matter what has happened we can once again feel whole again. Although, not a replacement for our husbands, the Widows I’ve met have become allies, true friends. They are a source of different blessings: comfort, lightness, laughter, knowledge, experience, safety, and encouragement. We are fellow navigators in this new normal that our lives have become since the loss of our spouse.
The miracle that I found TWJ will forever be with me. My husband and I had recently moved to Dallas from France, we didn’t know many people and were just beginning to feel part of the community when my husband died unexpectedly. As if an angel from heaven had dropped into my life, soon afterward Joy Kirsch (co-founder of TWJ) walked up to me, put her arms around me, and simply cried with me. I didn’t know her but she is a neighbor who knew my husband [from the gym]. I can not even conceive what life would be like today had she not been there. Three years into widowhood I feel as if I can breathe again, knowing these vibrant, intelligent, wonderful widows will “be there” for me, and I for them. It’s a club no one wants to join but, oh my, what a blessing to so many, many women!!!!!
It has been life changing to know that there is a group of women that understand my journey and are always there to support me when I need it.
It helps me to know that these women understand and sympathize with our lives in a way others can’t. It helps me to feel less alone.
It makes me realize I am not alone in my feelings, and you all understand the depth of pain at losing a loved one.
It has helped me to be around others that have walked/are walking a similar journey. To have a common bond that just results in instant understanding and friendship. I remember coming in the first time and feeling hopeless, and I believe that this group has really helped me find hope and joy again. And I have been encouraged and validated in ways that other people cannot fulfill because they just don’t understand.
From the absolute worst of times, has come some of the best, most rewarding, touching and fun times which to this day still astound me. The support, love, acceptance and camaraderie of my widow sisters (“wisters”) has made life all the more sweeter with a sense of community, purpose, laughter and deep understanding. Having spent most of my life working with men, raising sons and just operating in a mostly male environment – TWJ and my reconnected girlfriends have been like a shiny beacon of light and hope in what was otherwise the darkest period in my life. I have learned much from the company of getting to know so many extraordinary women and just when I think there couldn’t possibly be another one as interesting or fun or in need, another one appears. Again, the worst of times brings us together, but some of the best of times await if we can just open our broken hearts, even a little, to the possibilities.
As a therapist, I know that the most important thing in overcoming obstacles is to know you’re not alone. Therapists call it a “twinship.” People can tell you they are sympathetic and “know what you’re going through” but unless they’ve lived it themselves, they just don’t know. TWJ has given me that. It’s so wonderful to be with people who truly “get it”. And I have drawn so much strength and hope from those of you who were widowed long before me. Your zest for life and fun has been more inspiring to me than you all will ever know - I’m so grateful for this organization and the great friendships I’ve been forming!
TWJ has been a source of strength, compassion and love. I have met women who have walked in my sad slippers and shown me the way to a path of hope and friendship and support. I have learned about how to heal and grow, and how to support others who have the same burden to overcome.
TWJ has been a huge help in my life mainly because I didn’t know anyone when I moved here outside of a few acquaintances through my daughters and the church. I also celebrate this safe place to discuss the loss we have all dealt with and not be judged.
Mostly, I credit TWJ for encouraging me to “get out” and embrace the possibilities. Other than work, I had become secluded from friends and family. It was easier to throw myself into “work” around the house than facing public exposure.
I have TWJ neighbors across the street and others I enjoy seeing at a variety of gatherings. What a privilege to know these diverse, resourceful, intelligent, engaging women. I’ve also learned my way around a variety of grocery stores— places I rarely visited during 45 years of marriage. With groceries in hand I have cooked and entertained about 130 guests in my condo. I have also figured out what to do when my car battery dies, my tire is flat or when locked out of my house and my car. I’m living a happy, meaningful, yet different life now.
I wish I had this early on after my loss. I’m ten years after the loss and I’m still learning, but if I had the information and the tools that you’re giving these women today I know I would have made a lot less mistakes. It’s so refreshing, and so exciting to see them lean into life and find joy again.
TWJ has given me the courage to forge ahead and the confidence that “I” can handle it. I wanted to just shut down, and the TWJ angels gave me the desire again to live.