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February 18, 2011

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February 18, 2011

After being widowed for two years, I was surfing the web in search of articles on the subject of widowhood and grieving. Considering myself a "younger" widow at the age of 48, I wasn't exactly sure of what I was searching for, but knew I would recognize it once I found it. The Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation caught my attention. I liked what I read on their website. These were women just like me! Like me, they were "younger" widows, ranging from their 20's to their early 60's. Nevertheless, they were all widowed much sooner than one would expect. The more I read about SSLF, the more interested and connected I felt. I decided to attend their conference that year. It was one of the best things I did to help me through my grief. I connected with real women and men just like me. No matter our socio-economic status, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs we all stood on common ground, feeling welcome, validated, and loved. The workshops are relevant and practical. The social events are fun and postiive--not the pity parties one would expect. To date, I have attended two SSLF conferences and can honestly say that this is a group that supports and empowers widowers from all backgrounds. I plan to attend again as a participant to gain more support, but also to give support to those newly widowed. Their work is not limited to an annual conference, but is a 365-day endeavor of love and support through its website, extended events throughout the year, and even its Facebook postings. The SSLF has changed the face of widowhood. We are not elderly people dressed in black who have dropped out of life. The SSLF has given us the support, encouragement, and empowerment to have a voice, a purpose, and a life ahead full of possibilities.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

finding ways to cope as a younger widow. I found out that I was not alone and that many others were experiencing the same things as I.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it an A+.

February 18, 2011

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February 18, 2011

As such a grief illiterate society widowhood is a very lonely road to walk without support and love of others who understand. SSLF came into existence to create a community by and for those who are widowed and offer on-going support, resources a a yearly conference. SSLF has made it OK to talk about the death of your spouse or partner and are providing an invaluable resource with an estimate 700,000 people who are widowed every year.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I experienced continual support through education and connections made through this organization

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get national sponsorship to raise awareness and financial support so they can continue their work

February 17, 2011

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February 17, 2011

I attended Camp Widow 2010 less than a year after losing my husband. Although I was a bit overwhelmed, I found it comforting to be surrounded by so many others who have been through the same thing. It was an amazing experience organized by SSFL and I plan on attending again. I made friends there that I feel like I will have for a lifetime...

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

finding others who have supported me when I needed it.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

offer Camp Widow across the country, beyond the West Coast.

February 17, 2011

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February 17, 2011

I attended the first Camp Widow in 2009 and found it inspiring and helpful. The one aspect of the weekend that stood out is that no one went unnoticed and walked alone. What a welcoming group. I have been a widow for three years and still gratefully read the web site and blogs.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

supporting widows.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

February 17, 2011

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February 17, 2011

There is no handbook on how to live after you loose the person you thought you were going to spend your life with. Being a young widow presents constant struggles. Having the support of family and friends is wonderful, but sometimes its hearing from those that have been through something so similar that gives you hope that you'll be okay, that its okay to feel pain and anger; okay to feel happy and loved again too.
I'm glad I've found this organization and look forward to being more involved.
My husband, Yuri, died on June 4, 2006 after completing a half Ironman triathlon. He was 28 years old. His death was sudden and unexpected. We were college sweetheart, about to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary, and 11 years together. We had plans to buy a house and start a family. Our dreams were shattered.
In my healing, I have done a lot of work to get to where I am today. I have relied on inner strength and encouragement from others. I am not alone in this journey. It is a process, this healing we must do. SSLF is a wonderful resource.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I found a new counselor after moving across the country to try to start over. I've been able to be in a happy, loving new relationship with less guilt.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the organization better known amongst social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. I found the group through another young widow. Word of mouth is great, but this is still a well kept secret in many ways.

February 17, 2011

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February 17, 2011

When my husband died in 2008, I felt like I was the only one - the only young widow, the only one who understood this terror of raising two little ones totally alone, the only one who knew how other's often insensitive, yet wellmeant, comments bit. And in the small town that I live in, I was the only one.
But then, I stumbled across the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. From the kindness of others, I managed to fly to San Diego and meet so many other "only one"s.
I was no longer alone. It was still scary and new, but it was less lonely.
I don't know that I have laughed as hard or felt as supported as that weekend in San Diego since the death of my beloved husband.
This foundation fills a need, a void, where our families/friends/community is not able to.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The emotional support provided though the connection to other widows and the education of their workshops regarding a variety of topics from grieving children to financial planning.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help more widows be able to access it and afford the trip to San Diego.

February 15, 2011

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February 15, 2011

When I was widowed last June, I was fortunate to come across Soaring Spirits within the first few months. It was amazing to be able to connect with others who lost spouses. It is very difficult to understand the loss of a spouse without experiencing it first hand. I am thrilled that Soaring Spirits has an event like Camp Widow and I am excited to attend this August. I also attended an event that Soaring Spirits held in NYC last December. It was amazing to meet Michele and see the strength and hope that she emanates. Soaring Spirits is hope, love and strength and a way for widows and widowers to connect, gather resources and heal.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

being able to connect with other widows.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help more people find about SSLF.

February 14, 2011

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February 14, 2011

I am unhappy to share that I have had the misfortune of being able to refer SSLF to a few of my friends. They were all happy to find them, and I was happy to be able to help them in some way. People on the outside never know how to help. You have help me to be a being friend in those situations. Just today I learned of a dear friend who just lost her husband. I will be telling her of SSLF.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping my friends

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

....

February 14, 2011

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February 14, 2011

There is nothing as compelling as a shared experience to help in the healing process after suffering overwhelming grief. When I found myself dealing with the loss of my husband and son, I turned to the internet to connect with someone out there who might understand what I was going through. Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation came as a recommendation and when I explored the site and connected on the Forum and then attended Camp Widow I knew that it was just what the doctor ordered. I believe that God specifically answers the widows plea by connecting us with other widows who have traveled the same road before us. SSLF and Michelle Neff Hernandez are the conduit for that vital connection.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my grieving process

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

suggest adding a place to connect for those experiencing multiple loss

February 11, 2011

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February 11, 2011

On March 20th, 2009 my world changed forever when my beloved husband died suddenly, leaving me a widow and a single mom to our boys, then 10 & 12. Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation was one of the resources I found to help pull me up off the floor, literally. Connecting with the organization and the amazing people at SSLF online and then in person at Camp Widow has been truly healing. They helped me find the strength and courage to get back into my life and to realize that, even though I was dealing with a tremendous loss and life altering tragedy, I could survive and my kids and I would be ok. Being able to connect with so many other widows and Camp widow was truly a gift that I wish all widows could experience. Laughter and tears were both so healing. I hope that SSLF wins this grant so they can help so many other people in my situation see that there is light and life after the loss of a spouse.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

please see above

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't

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