When Bonita Hansen lost her husband, Delbert, in 2021, she felt deep grief. She describes the grief as having your arms and legs chopped off and then being forced to swim in the ocean — you are drowning.
“Sacred Heart didn’t have a grief support group,” Bonita says. “I knew I needed something like that as I navigated the loss of Delbert.”
Bonita knew she could go to grief support at the hospital, but she wanted a gathering that was Christian-based. So, with the support of both priests, she decided to start her own group at Sacred Heart in August 2022.
“I didn’t want something clinical,” she says. “I wanted it to be a gathering of friends.”
It was outside Bonita’s comfort zone to start a ministry, but she felt a deep calling.
“I kept hearing the Holy Spirit tell me, ‘If you want this to happen, you have to do it,’” Bonita says.
The Widows and Widowers Social gatherings take place on the third Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. at the rectory. All those who have lost a spouse, no matter how long it’s been, are invited. The group starts with a prayer and has time for sharing. Most of the time is spent in
fellowship — playing cards, talking, and sharing coffee and a snack. The group also has an informal gathering on the second Tuesday of the month at a local restaurant for brunch.
“I want to make sure we have time to visit so it’s not all just talking about our grief journeys,” Bonita says.
The group has been meeting for about a year, and Bonita knows she shares the same sentiments with the other group members. It’s a great time to be together in friendship and fellowship.
“I look forward to these gatherings so much,” she says.
Bonita is glad to have a few members who are further into their grief journey.
“They give us hope as we go through our grief,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to share with people who
understand and are going through the same thing. They know what you are talking about.”
This past Valentine’s Day, the group got together for a potluck — Bonita recognized members likely had no one they could spend the holiday with.
All widows and widowers are welcome, no matter their faith background.
“A lot of people say it’s been a big support,” Bonita says. “They thank me all the time for what I do.”
If you are a widow or widower, you are welcome to attend both monthly gatherings of this group. Contact Bonita Hansen at 218-894-2445 for more information.