Widowed Friends is a Halton based community of widows and widowers.
While it is a group exclusively for people who have experienced the loss of a spouse, it is not a grief support organization. Widowed Friends primary purpose is to provide a safe, social atmosphere for people who have lost their spouses and who are taking their first steps to move forward with their lives, to re-connect with others who’ve also experienced the tragic loss of a partner.
By joining a group that fully understands the pain of spousal loss, members find a common ground of understanding and support, feeling less alone in the world.
The idea for the group originated almost 4 years ago with Stephanie Etherington, a recent widow. She often found herself at loose ends on weekends, a particularly difficult time for people who have lost a spouse, and wondered if there were others in the widowed/widower community feeling the same way.
After a lot of research and discussion with other widows and widowers about their needs, the Widowed Friends community was born, with just a handful of people attending the first meeting. From the start, the focus was on developing frequent outings so members always had something to look forward to on their calendar.
With so much planning and developing to get the group off the ground, it was a great when Dorothy Towey teamed up with Stephanie early on, to partner in all the organizing and event creation. Working together they have organized over 650 events in the past 3 years.
Today the group’s membership is almost 200 and continues to grow monthly. Events are held in Burlington, Oakville and Milton and range from restaurant dinners, to potlucks in members homes, movie nights, bowling, excursions to wine country, volunteering at community events and more.
Membership (Enrollment) in the group is only for people who have lost a spouse or partner. It is recommended that prospective members wait 6 months or more following loss to think about joining the group.
To maintain the integrity of the community, prospective members must provide a proof of loss ( ie copy of death certificate or obituary) and pay an annual membership fee of $50 which helps defray administration costs.
There is also a detailed Code of Conduct, which all members are asked to review and sign as their confirmation of understanding the groups’ guidelines.
To find out more about Widowed Friends, check out the website at www.widowedfriends.ca. The group also has a Facebook page and a Meetup page where members can view and register for events – both of these sites are private so you must join to view the content on Meetup and Facebook.
If you’d like to connect with the Widowed Friends team, email [email protected]