What If We Had a National Organization for Widows? What Would That Look Like?

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One of the things that dawned on me, shortly after the death of my husband, was that there was no established organization for widows, not a single one that was a household name. In my Coastal Carolina town, there wasn’t even a widows group. Everywhere I’d lived before, all five states, at least had one of those in my town. I knew that because I had friends and family who belonged to them.

It got me to thinking. What if we had a national organization for widows? What would that look like? Why not? There are all kinds of organizations for the military. They deserve all of them and more…but did you realize that the combined total of active duty and reserve military comes to about 3.5 million in the US?  And that there are about 14 million widows in our nation? That’s SIX TIMES the number of all our military. SIX TIMES!!!  Those numbers are from the 2018 Federal Census.

 

The average age to be widowed is now 55, down from ten years ago when it was age 59. Also from the 2018 Federal Census. Think about it. That’s a long time to spend the balance of your life as a widow. The notion that widows are all little old ladies in black shawls living in nursing homes could not be much further from the truth! It’s a myth, and we who don’t fit that image are invisible. Invisible to society, in our neighborhoods, in our country. That needs to change!

What if we had a well known and well organized national organization for widows? Something on the order of the American Red Cross, or Susan G Komen, or maybe Wounded Warriors? Or even better, something like Compassionate Friends (for bereaved parents). What if we had an organization that was a clearinghouse and directory of existing resources. What if there was a place to turn to help us adjust to, what is by all metrics, a totally devastating experience? A place to find practical advice and information for the universe of transformations we must make?

 

I posed this very question to my online followers and colleagues and asked what such and organization could do, specifically. In less than an hour, they came up with over forty ideas. Some of the ideas were great, some good, some were a little on the fanciful side. The point is, in less than an hour, more than forty ideas were put forth that are not currently being addressed. More accurately, more than forty needs that are not being filled.

 

 

What were those ideas? I’m not going to list all of them here, but they came down to the following:

  • Referrals or directory listings of local widow support groups
  • Screened and certified financial and legal professionals director
  • Online courses in such things as computer literacy, crime prevention, solo meal preparation
  • PSAs talking about what grief help is and what it isn’t, educating non-grievers
  • A template structure for churches to establish support for widows, including starting widows church fellowship groups
  • Some coordination liaisons to help expedite the mountain of government paperwork.
  • Ride registries of volunteers to provide transportation to and from minor medical procedures, ie eye exams, colonoscopies, etc. Short term delivery of groceries & prescriptions for when we’re ill.
  • Courses for family and friends who want to help regarding how to best do that.
  • Emergency preparation tutorials geared by local hazards.
  • Courses on home and auto maintenance; what’s required when.

 

That’s only a sampling. I’m sure you can think of more. Let me hear them, and share this article everywhere. Maybe we can start something, right? Why? “Because can’t never did anything!”

 

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© 2020 Widowlution, All rights reserved.