Widowed-to-Widowed Grief Support Groups
In October 2010, WCESS President, Jim Schwartz, founded the first widowed-to-widowed grief support group in the Phoenix, Arizona area, which currently meets weekly on Mondays. A second group is active in Sun City West/Surprise and meets every other Monday afternoon.
Mission Statement – We are a network of local support groups composed of widows and widowers, resolved to create and provide a compassionate and safe environment for individuals who have lost a spouse or partner. This environment supports and encourages each individual’s unique path through healing from their loss. We are especially sensitive to the newly bereaved. We focus on comforting and supporting the newly bereaved through their healing from loss in the weekly meetings. Healing includes accepting the loss, feeling the feelings, adjusting to life without the loved one, and moving forward. Often, while we wish we did not have to go through the suffering, we do successfully heal.
Description – Our groups are support groups only. Facilitators are peers and not professional counselors or therapists. Because we are peer-to-peer groups we don’t diagnose anyone and we don’t provide advice. The groups are strictly for support of each other in a variety of ways. For example, we maintain a Buddy Call System where certain members will call other members between meetings to check in with them. Beyond the group meetings, members are becoming friends, exchanging phone numbers, going to dinner, movies, and attending other social events.
“This group really makes me think and take action in my life.”
“Great meeting once again, love to see new faces and the sharing of their experience, strength and hope, good topic guilt.”
“Couldn’t get through the week without it.”
“Comforting to spend time with people who get it. It’s a lonely journey…the meeting gave me a chance to not feel alone for a few hours.”
“This was a good week. Discussing the emotion anger brought a lot of good discussion. Nice to see new faces and all the others here.”
“Love this group….it’s so good for all of us and I look forward to it every week…”
“This is a good group of people. Almost like a family gathering…Although our talk is about loss, I have got something positive that has helped me at each meeting I’ve attended.”
Join us on Meetup.com – We maintain our schedule for weekly support groups and social events on Meetup.com. It is highly recommended you join our Meetup.com group to allow us to track who is attending future meetings. Our Meetup.com group is titled Widowed-to-Widowed Grief Support Group and can be found by searching the term “widow” or “widowed” in the Phoenix area.
WCESS has assembled a FREE Starter Kit for anyone wanting to start their own group. The Starter Kit includes:
- Facilitator’s Guide – This guide provides step by step instructions on how to start a group including where to find meeting space, how to advertise, meeting agenda, ground rules for the group, a list of potential topics for discussion, and much, much more.
- Sign-in Sheet.
- Flyer example – used to post in public areas or email to anyone.
- Mission Statement.
- Handouts for new members – this handout includes a number of articles dealing with grief, assessing grief, secondary losses, and more.
- Agenda example – at our Tempe group the facilitator always prepares an agenda for each meeting. This helps with the flow of the meeting and is used to take notes. Notes are published on the Meetup.com site after each meeting.
We also recommend you make available the book, Widow to Widow by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg. It is one of the highest rated books on Amazon.com by readers and covers many important topics. It is a great resource to find topics for the support group meetings.
To acquire your own FREE Starter Kit or any of the needed documents to run a meeting, please go to HERE.
If you want more information on our local grief support groups, please use our Contact Us page.