Embracing Authenticity: Introducing our 'Real Widows and Widowers
In a world inundated with stereotypes and misconceptions, it’s crucial to challenge preconceived notions and celebrate the diverse tapestry of human experiences. This is especially true when it comes to the complex journey of widowhood.
Our ‘Real Widows and Widowers’ campaign seeks to shed light on the incredible diversity of widows, showcasing their strength, resilience, and individuality. We recognise that real widows(ers) come from all walks of life. We comprise all genders and all sexual preferences, all races, all demographics, all age ranges, married and cohabiting, parents or not. Unfortunately love and loss does not discriminate and affects us all.
Inspired by Dove’s groundbreaking ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, ‘Real Widows and Widowers’ aims to redefine the narrative surrounding widowhood, offering a platform for widows and widowers to share their unique stories and experiences.
We invited six Chapter 2 members to join us for a fun and empowering afternoon to relax, get glammed up, and shine a spotlight on their fabulous individuality by sharing their unique stories. Find out more about the campaign and our featured members below.
Breaking Down Stereotypes
Widows have long been confined to a narrow, often outdated, stereotype. The image of a somber, elderly woman dressed in black is etched into our collective consciousness. However, this representation simply doesn’t reflect the reality of widows today. This campaign challenges these stereotypes and features widows of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Whether they’re young mothers, career-driven professionals, or vibrant retirees, each widow brings her own unique perspective to the table.
One of the most powerful aspects of our campaign is its celebration of diversity. We come from all corners of the globe, representing a myriad of cultures, religions, and belief systems. By showcasing this rich tapestry of diversity, we aim to foster a sense of unity and understanding among widows(ers) and the wider community. By doing so, we sends a powerful message that grief and loss are universal experiences that transcend borders and boundaries.
Strength in Vulnerability
Being a widow(er) isn’t just about loss; it’s also about finding strength in vulnerability. Through this campaign, widows and widowers have the opportunity to share their stories, from the challenges they’ve faced to the triumphs they’ve celebrated. By highlighting their resilience, our campaign seeks to empower not only widows and widowers but also those who may be facing similar struggles. It’s a testament to the incredible human capacity for growth, healing, and transformation.
Real Widows and Widowers in Action
To give you a glimpse into the heart of this campaign, here are just a few of the incredible widows who took part in our campaign and have shared their stories:
Perminder - 47
Midlands based Perminder, 47, found herself shockingly widowed in September 2022; her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the stomach lining, and died within 17 days.
Perminder is not quite ready to move into her chapter 2, but recognises that some widowed person(s) may feel more comfortable with a widow only dating app as opposed to the mainstream ones to allow them to explore the dating scene.”
Ian - 45
Ian found himself widowed at the age of 41. In April 2020 his wife of 15 years contracted Covid-19 and after fighting it at home for six days she was admitted to hospital. After 48 hours of hoping that antibiotics would help she passed away peacefully. Ian now raises their three children alone but says they keep her memory alive every day.
Ian comments: “I find that people seem wary of dating a widow and hope that a widows only site can help me find my Chapter 2.”
Heather lost her husband Stuart to kidney cancer in July 2021, 11 months after he was diagnosed. Heather was just 33 and their children were just six and two when he died.
On dating Heather says “I envisage this may be a minefield – my circumstances are quite unique: I am a full-time single parent to two young children, so don’t have a huge amount of time to go on lots of dates with different people each week!.”
Katrina - 52
Katrina found herself widowed at the age of 48 after her husband passed away suddenly in January 2020. Within 24 hours she was pushed into a life that she didn’t want and had to deal with the realisation that she was never going to be able to see, touch or talk to her husband again. They were together for 25 years and he was her soul mate.
Katrina says, “They say that time is a healer, but I do not agree. You just learn to live alongside grief. The pain stays the same.
“Losing my husband has taught me that life is a gift, and we only get one chance to make every moment count. My husband will always have a special place in my heart, and I miss him dearly, but I do want to love again.
I have joined a few dating sites but not had much success and then I came across Chapter 2. I am still not sure if I am ready to have a full relationship with anyone but I like Chapter 2 because it is for people who can relate to my situation.”
Morag - 58
Manchester based Morag lost her husband of 36 years, Andrew, to bowel cancer in April 2022. Even though he was diagnosed and living with cancer for five years it was still a shock to lose him at such an early age. Morag had to come to terms with being a single person again.
She doesn’t feel quite ready to move on but has enjoyed meeting other widows in the same space – Chapter 2 is a great place for people with similar experiences, to make new friends and to get back into the dating scene when the time is right.
Sharon met Ed on a dating site in 2017. The first things she noticed about him was his wavy, salt and pepper hair, the camera around his neck and his kind eyes. They communicated via Messenger and talked every moment they could. They decided to move in together before they had even met.
In March 2019 Sharon’s divorce was finalised and her and Ed set their wedding date of August 24th at a local Registry office. Their wedding was wonderful; beautiful food, beautiful people and oodles of love. They spent their honeymoon in York but Ed wasn’t feeling very well. As the week went on Ed wasn’t feeling any better and so they returned home two days early.
Sharon booked a doctor’s appointment for Ed who suspected gallstones and instructed them to call an ambulance should he feel any worse. They had to call an ambulance the following day and after much prodding and poking by doctors at the hospital, Sharon got the call that dimmed the light and broke her heart – Ed had inoperable and incurable Liver cancer. He was given a year to eighteen months.
The first week following the news was full of tests. The second week Ed had the first of two operations and was like his old, bright and joyful self. The third week they did a second operation, he came out of this a total polar opposite to the previous week; in agony.
After the operation Sharon sat with Ed and while she was talking to him when he took a turn and ended up in intensive care. Sharon stayed by his side that night, afraid to leave in case she would lose him. She woke up in the early hours the next day to get a paper and breakfast and when she returned to Ed the consultant was sitting with him. Ed said ‘I’m dying’ and her world fell apart, shattered into a million pieces. Ed decided that he wanted to ‘pull the plug’ rather than live on machines. Ed passed away around 11pm on September 20th 2019 three and a half weeks after they had married.
The ‘Real Widows and Widowers’ campaign is more than just a collection of stories; it’s a movement that seeks to challenge stereotypes, celebrate diversity, and empower widows and widowers from all walks of life.
By showcasing the real faces of widowhood, we hope to inspire a new wave of understanding, compassion, and support for those who have experienced loss. Together, we can rewrite the narrative and create a more inclusive and empathetic society for widows everywhere. Join us in celebrating the strength, resilience, and beauty of our real widows and widowers.