Losing a loved one is a defining moment in our lives. It is a time of mourning and pain, accompanied by memories and stories of the deceased person’s life. Sometimes, sharing with others who’ve lost loved ones can help bring consolation and healing.
Here at St. Jude, we are blessed to have the Widow and Widower Support Group, which specifically serves those who have experienced the loss of their spouse.
“People that haven’t lost a loved one don’t have those same feelings as someone who is going through that,” says Sharon Strong, one of the ministry organizers. “You never forget your loved one, but you learn how to cope with it. The easiest way to do that is to be with other people who are experiencing the same thing.”
The Widow and Widower Support Group meets for a luncheon four times per year. It provides the opportunity for fellowship among those who are grieving and experiencing similar circumstances, giving them the space to share and heal together.
The meetings open with a prayer, then the attendees share a meal together. Oftentimes during the meal, there are opportunities for sharing.
“If you’re going to be sharing food together you can share other things, too,” Sharon says.
Following the meal, the participants enjoy some fun and card games. The idea is to help widows and widowers connect with others, but also to get out of the house — something that oftentimes can be difficult after a great loss.
“As soon as they can get out, the better they are, the less depressed they are,” Sharon says. “That has been my personal experience — doing things, I don’t get depressed. I think that’s a big answer to things. Just keeping people active is a big help.”
Having participated in the parish’s Bereavement Support Group, Sharon heard about the Widow and Widower Support Group. She has been helping out with the ministry for just over a year.
The ministry seeks to provide emotional support for the participants, but it fills a spiritual need, too.
“Helping people that have gone through losing a loved one is a very important thing to do,” Sharon says. “Showing love for one another is what Christ has asked us to do. It’s one of the main things, to love one another as He has loved us. It’s more fulfilling to people when they feel like someone cares.”
The luncheons typically take place on the third Thursday of the month, four times per year. All those who are widows and widowers are included in the email list for updates and further information regarding dates and times. Currently, the ministry is seeking ideas from its participants as well as the wider parish community to build and grow the ministry.
For more information, or to get involved, contact Sharon Strong by calling 317-445-6827.