In continuing with our grief resources, this week we are featuring Modern Widows Club which comes coincidentally on the heels of International Widows Day on June 23.
I was first introduced to Modern Widows Club through a woman who watched her dear friend, Carolyn Moor, try to pick up the pieces of her life after losing her husband to a tragic car accident. She had two young girls and not a clue what her new normal should look like-and after an appearance on Oprah (yes, OPRAH!), Carolyn started Modern Widows Club. The name Modern Widows was born out of the idea that widowhood does not happen to just the elderly, but any age is affected, and thus there needs to be a community of widows coming together to share their experiences and grief and strengthen one another.
The below conversation is with Jennifer Garrett-Callaghan who is the co-leader of the Nashville chapter of the Modern Widows Club. The Nashville chapter is still young and I am excited to share more about this awesome organization:
- Tell us about Modern Widows Club- Modern Widows is not a grief group, we are a life support group. We are a group of women that helps other widows learn how to re-establish themselves in the world. As a widow, I can say that people on the outside don’t understand what I need. It’s not that we’ve lost someone, we’ve lost everything. Being a widow has a steep learning curve and Modern Widows Club helps women by providing inspiration, guidance, and ultimately showing them what life can look like on the other side. We are all women just learning to navigate this new life. This is a group exclusively for women who have been widowed and that is important because our issues are different from men, and we need a place to connect.
- What is your best memory with Modern Widows Club? For me, it was the realization that I was called to lead a chapter of Modern Widows. It was a big step for me but so very fulfilling. I have also just loved the simple moments of connecting with other women by going to concerts together or going on hikes. Those are the moments of deepest connection and ultimately where we can establish a trusting a deep relationship with one another so that we can always be lifting each other up.
- Who is Modern Widows Club not for? I don’t know if there is a “not” outside of that we are a female-only organization. We are so inclusive because we know that we all handle grief differently. We are welcoming to any woman regardless of beliefs or background.
- What makes Modern Widows Club unique? I believe our advocacy and leadership development is what sets Modern Widows Club apart. Without leaders, we don’t have communities served and without advocacy, society doesn’t understand why we need leaders! It’s not enough to serve widows, we must build the process, framework and structure for thriving widows’ organizations to exist for when widows need them. That is what makes us unique, we are changing how widows are served and can serve other widows, which is what all resilience building and creating empowerment is about. Growth from the grief sets a widow’s trajectory on a healthy path forward. She needs both resilient role models and a positive community to walk alongside her to be triumphant.
- When should women start attending Modern Widows Club after losing a spouse? A lot of ladies wait a few months before joining. That is the time when a lot of women realize when they are stuck in their grief journey and need help. When I was on my own grief journey after losing my husband, I started googling groups and after 5 months of searching I found Modern Widows.
- What does membership to Modern Widows Club look like? By joining Modern Widows, not only do you join a community of like-minded women in your area, but you also receive access to our private Facebook pages, blog posts, inspirational videos from our founder Carolyn, access to Modern Widows retreats, and lists of resources specific for widows.
Details about the Nashville Chapter:
- When: The Nashville chapter meets once per month on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8:30 pm.
- Our chapter leaders also try to coordinate other activities to keep everyone connected and have a steady flow of social interaction-which is so important after losing a spouse.
- Dues: $49 a year and $135 for a 3 year membership.
- How to join: Visit our website and please reach out for more information firstname.lastname@example.org !
I highly encourage you to send this to the widows in your life that need that community and space to share their experiences!