It all started over a year ago when new widows would call me or they were being referred to me by the Funeral Homes. I was trying to get them all together once a month at a restaurant but some of the widows just could not afford the meal. The last time we got together at a restaurant there was a young widow at one end of the table and another at the opposite end. I could not help but think that they should have had a chance to talk to each other but because of the seating they never did.
After that I approached Holly Reid at Brenan’s Funeral Home about my concerns and she got permission for us to use their lower level meeting area every month. It has a back entry, bathrooms and kitchen area so you feel like you are in a private rented area.
We started with only a few widows but we have grown and have lots of bus trips and social events in addition to our monthly Chick’s Night Out. New widows come in barely saying anything but over the months they relax and find support and encouragement from the other widows.
What a new widow needed was somebody to talk to urgently – somebody who would understand what she was dealing with. Only another widow could appreciate how difficult weekends can be without her husband. Only another widow could understand the trauma associated with clearing out a closet full of a husband’s clothes. Some, like myself, do it immediately because they want to get it over with quickly while others take years.
Since its beginnings, Chick’s Night Out has also developed small protocols. During our get together some widows pair off and talk. If they want to cry, it’s allowed. Conversation is almost never restricted. Sometimes they group up to play a game of cards or a board game.
The only hard rule the group has developed is the word “should” is strictly forbidden. It must never be “you should do this or you should do that,” instead we encourage, ‘Well, this is what I did and it helped me.’ ”
Over the months, firm, loving and happy friendships have formed. Friendships that will last a lifetime because of the bond they share.
It is not a going-there-just-to-cry kind of thing – it is a safe place to learn to share and laugh again. To learn more about the group sign up for our monthly newsletter “Our Shared Journey”. It’s free to subscribe and also offers three free gifts: http://tinyurl.com/d6p8jex