Monthly Archives

October 2017

Come Meet your “Wisters” and the Modern Widows Club

Carolyn Moor and Patricia McKenna

In 2011, Carolyn Moor started the Modern Widows Club after the death of her husband on Valentine’s Day. It has been her passion ever since then to empower and help women grow in their lives after they have experienced a loss of their spouse. She and her members have fashioned the name “Wister” to indicate widowed sister. Groups that meet all over the United States concentrate on support and encouragement and foster social interaction among fellow widows. I have had the pleasure to be a member, since mid-May 2016 which was three months after my husband passed on February 10th, 2016. Some people might say that was too soon but it has empowered me to think about my loss in a new way and reach out to others. Carolyn Moor and her group Modern Widows Club inspired me to start my blog, A Widow’s Heart to support other widows.

The National Founder, Carolyn Moor, visited our local Modern Widows Club group recently and I was lucky enough to get to interview her. The following is our conversation.

Patricia: What do you think are the greatest challenges facing widows?

Carolyn: The isolation is a very big difficulty, partly because the lack of being able to have another voice in all the decisions that you need to make. What I see happen is financial and legal is the first hurdle. The next is practicing self-care. They really don’t have a reason to take care of themselves. Until they figure out that they have some purpose and meaning, then they are not going to care about making decisions about their livelihood. It kind of goes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. As you look at this pyramid, it goes to the bottom where it is primal. Am I safe? Can I keep my home? Am I going to be able to eat? It goes back to “Is anyone going to hug me?”, that human connection. As you look at the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs chart, it truly is the widow’s journey. You go from the top of the pyramid right down to the bottom when your spouse dies. Again, this goes back to my philosophy of building a foundation. You literally are like building a new pyramid for your life.

Patricia: What are the elements of the foundation?

Carolyn: The foundational elements are Faith, Self-Compassion, and Trust. You are trusting other new people at the same time as trying to trust that you have the capability to trust yourself. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You must see the areas where you are doing well and praise yourself. That’s where the self-compassion comes in, then that keeps perpetuating and building itself. This will build your confidence in yourself and your decisions. Self-esteem and confidence is the number one thing women have said they have lost. Without these two things, it’s hard to make decisions and move forward. You need to connect with others and this opens a whole new world for you. None of us knew what that was going to be from day one.

Patricia: What have you learned as a widow overall?

Carolyn: I have learned that I am capable of creating, aware of blessings, but also being aware that miracles happen every day. I think that is part of getting back to the innocence. I didn’t realize this experience was going to make me live more alive. I always say my last name is Moor and that means two things. I am living more alive and I am more for a lot of ladies. Modern Widows Club is somewhere to tie on to when the seas are really rocky, for a time, until they’re ready to go back out into this ocean and find new horizons. My name literally is Moor. I feel I have become who my true self is and I would not have been able to do that without my husband, Chad, pointing me in this direction on his way out. I know a lot more of the pieces of the puzzle now because I have had a lot more time to see the puzzle pieces fall into place. That’s what I would tell our ladies is to see every experience as a piece of the puzzle. It’s not good or bad it’s just a piece of the puzzle.

Patricia: How many widows are there out there now?

Carolyn: In 2011, there were 12.6 million widows in the United States. From the 2015 World Widows Report, internationally, it’s 258 million widows caring for 585 million fatherless children. The numbers are staggering around the world.

Patricia: You have said before that “They’re so many widows and their needs are underserved”. What do you mean by that?

Carolyn: We have already done our own research. We took three pilot cities and called 100 places of worship just to get an idea of what is available for those cities. We picked Seattle, Orlando and Kansas City just to get different demographics. Only 10 to 15% of places of worship have anything for widows, younger or older. They might have a luncheon and the majority of those were in synagogues. For me as a Christian woman, I was really kind of shocked. Why? I had two churches turn me down to start a widow’s ministry because there wasn’t need. It’s the case of a couple of things. Everybody thinks someone else is doing something, right, and they are not. Also, I honestly don’t think they know how to do it. They don’t know how to create widow leaders. They don’t understand that widows do not want married, single or divorced women teaching their classes. Most places of worship are managed by men and the most receptive ones are managed by women. So, we have a patriarchic society that really does not see the need. Richard Branson has said, “That which is misunderstood will be underserved”. That’s what we are a misunderstood group of women, that is not being served because no one knows how to do it. So, we at Modern Widows Club are doing it. We depend on other widows to provide and fill the need.

Patricia: What would you like to see for widows going into the future?

Carolyn: I think it’s critical to get a widow’s leadership and mentoring curriculum based on the real data and research that we already have, almost like ministries all over the world. Widows want to step up and be leaders, they just don’t know how to do it. They need this support so we can create and support more widow leaders, mentors, and advocates. This is going to make the biggest difference for widows in our lifetime.

Patricia: So our audience will know, “What is involved in the process of mentoring?”

Carolyn: Mentoring works in every area. It works in corporations and children like with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I’ve researched mentoring and how effective it can be. All the science says if you have one person who really cares about your fulfillment and livelihood and they have more experience than you in that area, then it just makes sense to apply it widow to widow. It’s no different than other mentoring experiences. The dynamic is still the same, one person is disadvantaged and one person is advantaged and they are willing to share what they know and have done. Resiliency science is important. Mentoring is taking the time to care and not leaving the situation. A mentor commits a portion of themselves to empower a portion of you.

Patricia: Is there a lot of resilience science out there?

Carolyn: We hope they come and study our group Modern Widow’s Club. We have already been featured in the Wall Street Journal as an example of resilience. When women first come to Modern Widows Club, they have what is called “sky eyes”, meaning they are just staring out and only halfway there. I don’t know what it takes to turn someone’s “sky eyes” into “soul eyes” because “soul eyes” are when you can see the person shining through. That’s what we want our ladies to get back to. I don’t know what the process or the exact science or the exact formula or the experiences or whatever creates that because I don’t think anyone has the answer to that. Some of the things that we do, helps that miracle to happen. So, we are doing something right. We meet many of our widow leaders that it has happened for them.

Patricia: What advice would you give people in helping other widows?

Carolyn: The best advice I could give is to be a great encourager, always, and to be willing to hold space and give them time, your time, for as long as it takes. That is the most important thing your presence. That’s all you’re called to do. You need to know that the trust you have with this person meant something and it was meant to be.

Patricia: What advice would you give my readers, the widows themselves?

Carolyn: That you are more powerful than you even know.
I enjoyed my time I got to spend with Carolyn. She is a smart, compassionate woman. I recommend you check out the Modern Widows Club online. Here is the link: https://modernwidowsclub.com Check them out on Facebook as well at https://www.facebook.com/modernwidowsclub. I look forward to supporting and mentoring you all through my blog. Peace and All Good.

3 Ways of Stress Relief during Grief Process: A Widow’s Health

stress relief flowers and oils

Healthy is not exactly the word I would use to describe myself, but nonetheless I realize its importance, especially during the healing needed during our grief process. I don’t think anyone would debate the idea that loss and grieving is very stressful emotionally and physically. We need to take time for ourselves for stress relief. I’ll just admit it, I have a tough time relaxing. Holding everything all together isn’t easy and I have a natural tendency to be a worrier. I have previously mentioned meditation and I still subscribe to this stress relieving technique. But, yes, you know where I’m going with this. I have some new ideas for you that I have recently tried that I am excited to share with you.

3 Ways of Stress Relief during Grief Process:

1. Essential Oils
I am loving trying new scents for relaxation and stress relief like Lavender and others for energy like Xiang Mao. I can breathe better with Peppermint. I use them in my Desert Mist diffuser that is also a humidifier. I know, I never thought I’d be the one to use this stuff right. I have been so surprised about how much I love it. Here is the link to my Young Living On-line Store https://www.myyl.com/awidowsheart You can also access through my website in the upper left menu as Healthy Young Living. We have pure excellent quality essential oils from seed to seal.

2. Music
Another wonderful thing I have discovered is Spa Music. This is channel 68 on Sirius XM but I’m sure you can get it at other places. You may have other music that works for you to relax. I’ve discovered for me music with words makes me want to know the words so I cannot disconnect and relax. There is nothing quite like harp music for instance. http://www.siriusxm.com/

3. Water
If we are talking healthy, and we are, you must drink more water. No matter how much water you are currently drinking you probably need more water. Staying hydrated is important for stress relief. I’ll be honest though, sometimes it’s a glass of wine or a beer for me. I, also, have a crazy obsession with orange Crush soda too. I have also started drinking NingXia Red from my Young Living On-line store https://www.myyl.com/awidowsheart It’s delicious and helps me to have more energy. The drink’s formula includes wolfberry, which is known for its health benefits. It features plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices and extracts. Young Living’s NingXia Red is packed with superfoods to support overall wellness. One bottle can last me up to 2 to 3 weeks.

These are just a few things that are currently working for me. I am also a big reader and relaxing usually includes a book and a blanket. I love being outside but having a window open is the next best thing. I, like you, miss my husband every day. When I give myself time to relax and fully grieve I feel like I can then go forward. You may have other means you use to help you relax. I invite you to share with this group your suggestions for what works for you.

You might also like this post: https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/dont-do-this-when-living-in-stages-of-grief/

 

Las Vegas Sniper Makes Many Widows

Candles in Memoiral

Loss is never easy whether it is a slow death like cancer or a fast death like victims of the Las Vegas sniper. It all seems senseless and for days reporters have been trying to find out why the Las Vegas shooting happened. But, we know, there is no answer to the questions of “why?” Every widow asks herself, “Why him? and Why now? Would it be any easier to accept if we knew why? Maybe it would be and maybe not.
Even when being bedside with someone for a slow illness, you are still not ready to let go when the time comes for them to pass. The people at this country music festival were laughing, dancing, and having fun one minute then the next they were widows and widowers. In the flash of an eye their life changed and we know what that feels like as widows. http://abcnews.go.com/US/las-vegas-shooting-death-toll-rises-59-apparent/story?id=50223240

It is a tragedy to us as onlookers and devastating for those involved. There are people being born and people dying every minute of the day somewhere on earth. I know this is not a comforting thought but it gives a big picture view of life. Each life is short and glorious. I am thankful to be alive and I am trying to make the most of it.

No one could have foreseen the tragedy in Las Vegas, no one is to blame but the shooter. Our country mourns with our fellow countrymen. You can see the beauty of humanity as the people of Las Vegas pitch in to help each other, first at the event and now with donations of blood and the material goods needed. There is good coming out of bad and this is what we can create with God’s help. https://www.patriciamckenna.blog/were-the-ones-who-live-from-the-walking-dead-living-beyond-death-with-grief/

Through acceptance I have been trying to rebuild my life. I know I don’t have it right just yet but I continue to grow. How do I fit it all in and relax while doing it? I think this will come with time and more confidence. I make lists and keep calendars but I feel I am always one step behind. Perhaps you can relate to my plight. I haven’t quite figured out my groove yet.

It’s been long enough since my husband has passed that I’ve learned some things about what works and what doesn’t. I had to learn housework from the beginning since my husband was a house husband. I have become more independent. I’m getting to know what I like and don’t like all over again. I’m learning that sometimes it’s okay to do what you want to do and not just what you know you should do.

My hope for those in the Las Vegas tragedy is that they will find peace and comfort. I also hope our lawmakers will figure out how to diminish the possibility of this happening again. I hope for you that you will find your way to acceptance and growth in your new life after loss. I keep trying new things including new activities, innovative ways of getting things done and dynamic ways of looking at things. Peace and All Good.