Prior to becoming the Executive Director of Widow Care, my knowledge and interaction with the population of individuals who have been widowed had been limited to personal experiences. As a Psychologist, I would encounter clients who had become widowed. However, that is where my experience ended. Drawn to the mission of Widow Care where James 1:27 presses upon us that faith is the caring of widows and orphans, I felt an immediate pull to the organization. When I initially met Eric Stewart, our president, and Kristin Hoover, our initial Executive Director, they shared the story of how this Bible passage was created into our organization. Eric, an acting enthusiast, was involved in a theatrical production in which passages of the Bible were memorized. James 1:27 stayed with him for 15 years. Determined to create an organization that focused on the well-being and support of those widowed, Widow Care was born with Kristin’s help. Upon interviewing for the position, I saw very quickly this was a “family”, and had immediate respect for the hard work, love, and care that has been invested in the organization and its members.
After starting a nonprofit organization for children in Massachusetts that focuses on children in transition that could be considered orphans, the unveiling of this Bible verse increased in significance for me. I would literally be helping others care for widows and orphans. An expert by no means, I simply recognize that in this role, I am constantly learning and continue to be inspired. When I rise in the morning, I do not feel as I am going to “work”. I feel as though I am carrying out a life purpose with the knowledge that I have and information that will continue to grow. At Widow Care, as you know, we call individuals who have been widowed “members” because we do believe they are an intricate part in that growth. The feedback we receive from them, their voices, the reciprocity we know they will eventually show to one another and to Widow Care all contributes to our significant evolution.
In just a few short months at Widow Care, my experience with people who have been widowed has grown through the interaction of our members and their touching and diverse stories. Widowhood certainly does not discriminate. People who are just starting their careers and persons who are years into retirement that have lost their spouses to illnesses and accidents. Widowhood cuts across every wake of life, and distresses people from every socioeconomic background, religion, race, gender, and across all geographical locations.
It has been a true inspiration to see our members come together. It has given me goosebumps to see widows and widowers come together at events and to see a bond of strength, encouragement, and a renewed sense of hope. It has made me want to shout from mountain tops “do you see how good people are?!?!” when our volunteers spend hours past a committed time frame to assist with a member packing for a move or organizing items that belonged to their spouse. When our society sponsors spend time offering their expertise with our members in multiple areas such as financial counseling or legal assistance, I am reminded that people are eager to give back and assist in helping others to succeed.
The stories as told by our members are best to be kept as that – stories told by our members. You will occasionally see their stories reiterated on this blog. We are excited that some of our members are eager to act as guest bloggers to share their journey. With this, we cannot forget the volunteers and supporters within the organization that will also have visiting spots within our blog. You are all an intricate part of us, and a crucial part of the conversation. We are so thankful for you for reading this blog, and for your commitment to Widow Care.
Tamara Blake, Executive Director