VOLUNTEER SOUL STORY

“When I was 18 years old, the morning after my high school graduation, my mom, “Gracie,” came into my bedroom and told me that my dad, 45 at the time, who I knew was sick, was actually dying of bone marrow cancer. She told me that we needed to be strong, pray that he does not suffer, and passes quickly.

After dad’s passing, life was different but OK. Mom went out and surrounded herself with friends, never missing a beat, and showing us children that while dad was no longer with us, life would continue to move on. She joined groups, took on an exchange student, traveled, and always keep her spirits high, despite having 5 teens that needed to get through high school and college.

Thirty-one years later, in 2008, I found myself suddenly a widow at 48. In going through the process, I recalled how strong my mom was. She had five children; I only had one child. I too celebrated my husband’s life, and vowed to move on like my mom did. Except this time, I felt this was something to be shared, to teach others what I had learned from my mom. I felt there was more to this process then just going to a bereavement group. Someone needed to help women after the fact to “pick up their big gal panties and move on!”

In 2013, I started a group in Middletown called WINGS (Widows Inspiring New Growth and Strength). We meet monthly and I bring in guest speakers, have social events every other month and expose them to volunteering opportunities – Soul Kitchen being one of them, giving them the opportunity to “give back” and realize all they have to be grateful for. As one of my speakers said to me, this group has proven how important the “power of friendship” truly is, you “get each other” as Gracie also showed me many years before.”


 

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