The Villages Community and Support Group for Widows
Our Mission for Widows
We serve to empower widows to lean into life, build resilience and make a positive difference in society.
Modern Widows Club is designed to create a safe and private environment for widows to lean into life together through the journey.
We are the club no one wants to be in because you only get in by virtue of experiencing a great loss. Yet what I hope you find once you’re here is that you’re surrounded by a community of really amazing women that you can lean on and learn from. We’re widows helping widows to live- to go upward and onward. Sometimes we cry and sometimes we laugh. We talk about how to tackle challenges without our partners’ help and cheer each other on. We often share food as we do this, because who doesn’t like to eat?
When a woman loses her loved one she tends to feel very alone. Regardless of her age or circumstances, she will benefit from other women in her life who understand the unique challenges she is now faced with. She needs women who will build her up and encourage her in this new life she walks. We are stronger together. No woman is an island. We need each other.
Meet Our Community Advocates
In 2013 I moved from Syracuse, New York with my husband Jim to The Villages, Florida. We were married for 33 years and enjoyed each other and our life together. I was fortunate to gain an instant family with Jim’s three young sons when we married. Our family has since grown with their children and grandchildren. We had a great life together and enjoyed our families, friends, careers, and travel. After our move to Florida, we enjoyed making new friends and enjoying the active lifestyle of The Villages.
In 2016, our life dramatically changed. Both Jim and I had major surgery within 5 weeks of each other. Jim lost his life after 33 days in the hospital from complications following his surgery. It was the most difficult time in my life, recovering from my cancer surgery and unexpectedly losing the love of my life at the same time. I was not a stranger to grief as I had lost both of my parents and had a professional career as a clinical social worker for over 30 years. I had my own practice and had counseled many individuals, couples and families often with their own issues with loss. But nothing had prepared me for the deep pain of losing my husband.
A year later, I found the Modern Widows Club in 2017 and went to the first empowerment weekend. Even though I had a lot of support from my family and friends, I found many women through that weekend who understood not only the pain of the loss but also those who had experienced the strength, hope and growth that came from being supported along their journey with this group of wonderful group of women who call each other Wisters. I felt understood, inspired and empowered after that weekend. It has been 4 years since my husband’s death and I continue to work part time as a therapist, and enjoy traveling, golfing, kayaking, photography and being with friends and family. It is my hope that I can also support other widows on their journeys in a Modern Widows Club Community.
I was recruited in 2006 for a nurse executive position at the James A. Haley, Veteran’s Hospital, in Tampa, Florida. I quickly fell in love with Florida especially because of its warm weather…coming from the North it was a wonderful reprieve from the snow, ice, and 90 below zero (actually happened when I lived in Fargo, ND)! I also met and married the love of my life, Karen.
Karen and I were married for 9 years when she was diagnosed with ALS better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This disease is relentless, robbing the body of doing the most basic things. However, ALS could not destroy a strong and loving spirit like Karen and was not going to stop us from participating and enjoying a quality life together. We adopted a motto…” Proceed until apprehended” and lived up to every word!
I retired early in 2017 to care for Karen until her passing in late 2019. Before she died Karen made me promise that I would find someone to love again. At first, our promise to each other was very overwhelming as it brought down the finality of what was happening. However, as a ray of hope, I’ve come to the realization that I received permission to grieve and go on living. As divine intervention would have it, I met the last love of my life, Bertie (a long time Villager), and we married in 2020. Bertie knew Karen from social and athletic events and we honor her spirit and love every year with a butterfly release ceremony. I am enjoying retirement and actively pursuing my passion for cycling, gardening and community leadership. I attended a Master Gardener program and received my certificate in 2021. I am also the Editor of the Master Gardener’s Journal for Sumter County. It is truly a great honor to serve as an MWC Community Advocate, paying it forward and hopefully empowering other Wisters along the way.