From Grief to Growth: Creating a Community for Widows and Widowers

Hello everyone, my name is Tony. 

My life took an unexpected turn in August 2022 when I became a widower. At first, like most people, I didn’t know what I was doing. 

After the initial shock, I realised I needed to reconnect and it would be nice to go out. I joined a few Facebook groups that organised social events, and went out when I could. 

I met some genuinely nice people in these singles and friendship groups, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. I wondered if there were any groups specifically for people like me – widowers.

I started searching Facebook every chance I got and eventually found a group called UK Widows and Widowers. It was ok, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for as it’s mainly for the support. Then, in March 2023, a new group for widowed individuals was created.

However, this group didn’t turn out to be the welcoming haven I had hoped for. The administrator ran the group, only allowing posts and comments based on personal preference. I soon found myself on the wrong side of this subjective moderation, with many of my contributions being deleted.

One day, I was chatting with a fellow member about an upcoming event. When I visited the group page to check on the event details, I noticed she was no longer a member. After messaging her, I discovered she had been removed by the group’s owner. This made me realise that I could create a better, more inclusive community for people like us.

In July 2023, I decided to set up my own group: “Widows and Widowers Friendship and Maybe More ❤️ UK“. Within 24 hours, the group had about 30 members and has been growing ever since. By October 2023, the group had grown to over 300 members, and as of May 21st, 2024, we have 806 members – WOW. I can’t believe it has grown so much.

Our members share a wide variety of posts, many of which are amusing and lighthearted. Of course, there are also poignant posts about personal experiences and the anniversaries of their loved ones.

We’ve faced challenges along the way and some bag eggs join, particularly with individuals trying to scam people or were simply being rude. However, we’ve managed to maintain the integrity by removing those people from the group.

The feedback from our members has been overwhelmingly positive and frequently express how it really is a lovely group.

If you’re a widow or widower seeking friendship and understanding, know that you’re not alone. There’s a community waiting to welcome you with open arms.

– Tony Smith, Widows and Widowers Friendship and Maybe More ❤️ UK

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