Widowed support group helps through grief of losing loved one

Goldie Anderson had been a military wife for almost 50 years, when her husband, Gene, died last year.

Now Anderson is trying to make a new life for herself as she adjusts to living on her own.

"It is difficult," Anderson said.

"But my husband was sick for 25 years, and being a military wife you get used to being on your own."

Anderson said she is not alone in her widowhood.

"I see many widows at church," she said.

"A lot of spouses were in the military.

I read in a magazine that about 750 veterans a month die."

The Widowed Persons Support Group helps those dealing with the grief of losing a spouse.

"There are a lot of widows and widowers in Kingman.

They retire here for health reasons and then one passes on and the other has no friends here," Bonnie Ely, co-founder of the group, said.

"We don't want anyone to be alone."

Ely said after she lost her husband in 1989 she needed to fill the void, so she decided to start a grief support group.

"I contacted AARP in Washington, D.C.

They sent an AARP representative from Kentucky to train us in grief counseling," she said.

"There were 13 original trainees."

Ely said everyone who has lost a loved one deals with the grief in a different way.

"So many think they can't go on.

We are taught how to talk to the recently bereaved and comfort them," she said.

"We let them know they are not alone in their grief.

We offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and lots of hugs.

"When someone is gone – that's what they miss the most."

Dotty Patriquin, another co-founder of the group, said widows and widowers must adjust to a whole new life when a spouse dies.

"They have to almost get a new identity," Patriquin said.

"The have been Mr.

or Mrs.

for so long.

They have to get used to living alone.

Mary Glass knows what it is like to loose someone you love.

Her husband of 41 years died in 1998.

"Losing your spouse is a more difficult thing than anything else you will ever experience.

Holidays are the hardest time," Glass said.

Glass found love and married again but recently became a widow for the second time.

She deals with her grief by keeping busy.

"There are many ways to find comfort, but it is more difficult with older people because of less family members.

Get involved with church programs.

Help any person you can.

Go to a nursing home and visit with someone or join organizations that help others," she said.

"Helping others helps oneself."

Glass also recommended staying active with civic groups and helping neighbors.

"Offer help to anyone who might need it.

Try not to be alone.

Be with the company of others," she said.

Glass gets irritated when people say, "I know just how you feel.

"Because they don't.

It's an unconscious thing.

There is no person that can feel exactly the way I do," she said.

"They have no idea until they've been there."

The Widowed Persons Support Group celebrated its 13th anniversary Saturday with a potluck at St.

John's United Methodist Church.

The group meets for breakfast at 10 a.m.

the second Wednesday of every month at Calicos restaurant.

For more information call 757-1578 or 753-3004.