Not Your Traditional Widows Support Group

You may not be keen on joining a traditional widows support group; instead, consider a different kind of support group for grieving spouses. Saturday Night Widows is both a book and an alternative way to transition from marriage to widowhood.

Author Becky Aikman’s husband died after battling cancer for more than four years, and she embarked a fresh start on both her career and her personal life. Her husband’s death didn’t just change her life, it motivated her to explore friendship and humor as a way to heal.

“I knew I had to reinvent my entire life,” she says in Widow offers wisdom on transitions for United Way campaign. “Everything was suddenly unknown.”

Are you struggling to cope with widowhood? It’s a major life transition, and it’s not easy if you attempt this journey alone. Rest here a moment, and consider a different kind of support group for widows.

A Different Kind of Widows Support Group

Becky tried the traditional grief support group for widows, but wasn’t comfortable discussing the stages of grief. Her preference was to focus on the future – which is what Saturday Night Widows is all about!

Why Becky wrote Saturday Night Widows: Since she didn’t want to focus on the past and her grief, she created a “widows’ circle.” It’s not the same as a grief support group for widows because they met monthly over museum tours, meals, cooking classes and other social outings. The idea was to focus on the future and move their lives forward, instead of dwelling on the past. (Note that not all grief support groups for widows focus on the stages of grief and the past. Some widows support groups are extremely beneficial and healthy).

“It went against what I thought I was supposed to do to be a proper widow,” says Becky in the Post-Gazette.com article. “The idea was that we would make this into a book, assuming it didn’t all fall apart in the first week. [Saturday Night Widows] succeeded beyond our wildest imaginations.”

About Saturday Night Widows

How is this widows support group different than a traditional grief group? Read the book to find out! First, here’s a review:

“Well written, engaging, and unputdownable, this book chronicles the year of Saturdays these six women spent together and how friendships formed and deepened.  These women discussed dating, sex, careers, houses, etc., while engaging in various activities such as lingerie shopping, touring a museum, and traveling.  These women were embracing life and enjoying it.  I found it inspiring to read about these women and cheered them on when they were nervous about going on a date or scared about moving in with someone and their kids – they confronted their fears head on.  Through Aikman’s book, we learn so much about widowhood, relationships, and life – it all makes for such an emotional and uplifting read.” – from Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman.

Tips for Transitioning to Widowhood

If you don’t want to join any type of widows support group, here are a few thoughts on the grieving process.

It’s okay to laugh. I know you don’t feel like it, but research shows that 75% of widows and widowers find humor and laughter in their daily lives – and at levels much higher than they had expected. It’s difficult to feel great about life when you’re grieving, but if you try to focus on good memories and feelings about your relationship, the positive emotions can protect your psyche and help you find serenity.

Get busy. How “hooked in” are you to activities outside your home? You don’t necessarily need to join a widows support group (like the Saturday Night Widows!), but you do need to get out of the house. Volunteer, get a part-time job if you’re retired, adopt a dog…do something to get your mind and heart off the grief and loss. Make the transition to widowhood smoother by stretching beyond your normal routine. Read Meeting New Friends – Help for Widows for more tips.

Start your own support group for widows. If you don’t like the idea of a traditional grief support group for widows, why not start a Saturday Night Widows of your own? Read the book for inspiration – and let me know in the comments section below if you need tips for starting a widows support group. I’d love to round up the best of ‘em for you!

Resources for Widows and Grieving Spouses

Widows Support GroupSaturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives by Becky Aikman.

The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stages and the New Science of Loss by Ruth Davis Konigsberg.

Widow To Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas For Rebuilding Your Life by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg.

If you have any thoughts on widows support groups – or if you want to share your experience – please comment below.

widows support group

2 comments On Not Your Traditional Widows Support Group

  • How does it sound for the first time to hear that your husband who is going to Wed his wife the next day died in a car accident?

  • My husband died, actually quite suddenly, from pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed on Sept. 2. I’m still in shock and disbelief but I’m trying my best to move forward. He was my best friend, he loved life, and we had a large social group of friends. He was handsome, sexy and intelligent – the cream of the crop! I am still grieving and am wondering when it’s all going to stop. I miss him SO much! I feel that half of me has been ripped away. I don’t want to join a support group now – I really don’t want to be around many people who are grieving – I’m doing enough of that myself! I do have many friends that I see often but I still have to come home to the empty house. I have 4 dogs that keep me busy and, by all mean, I would highly recommend getting a dog! They get you up – you have responsibiity with them and they love you. Great companions. I have asked my girlfriends if they would loan me their husband for an evening just to fill the void in my bed – well … you all know that we had a good laugh about that! I’m 67, active, and am not ready for this ‘widowhood’. Ugh … bring on the time if that will heal.

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