Published Monday 22 May 2017
- Child Care, Youth and Families
The Young Widow and Widowers Support Group held their first Family Fun Day on Sunday 23rd of April at 7th Brigade Park in Chermside. Members of the group attended, their children, family and friends, as well as anyone who had lost their spouse. The day included a BBQ as well as some games and entertainment including face painting, and was an opportunity to meet other people in similar circumstances.
Joanne Langford is the Coordinator of the support group that aims to provide peer-to-peer emotional and practical support to young (generally under 55) widowed men and women as they adjust to life after the death of their partner. The group’s monthly meetings, social media groups and social events are a chance for members to share their grief in a non-judgmental and understanding environment.
The event attracted a wide array of people, those who had been active in the group as well as those looking to experience what the group has to offer. “We had adults and children, and a total of 40 people showed up. There was a large range of ages present with the youngest in the group being about 4 months old,” Joanne said.
“It was really nice to see some of the younger kids engage with the older kids. My eldest who is 19 got a cricket game going with some of the younger children and the older kids taught the younger kids who had never played before how to play. This environment made it easy for those who didn’t feel comfortable speaking out to take part.”
Joanne mentioned how great it was to see meet a number of new people that hadn’t yet been able to attend any of the group’s monthly meetings. “Many of the new faces were Mums that have younger children and that can’t necessarily get to the meetings if they aren’t able to get child care, so the opportunity to bring their children was a huge positive. The children had the opportunity to run off and play together and the mothers were able to get what they needed as well. So it worked perfectly. These sorts of events outside the typical monthly meetings are great for those who aren’t able to fit the meetings into their schedule but want to be a part of the support community.”
The children of many of the attendees also benefited from the safe and understanding environment that the event provided. “My eldest children are 19 and 17 and one of the widowers who recently lost his wife has an 18 and a 16 year old, and we turned around and the four of them were all talking. While they probably weren’t talking about what they’d been through, because they’ve shared common ground they felt comfortable that no one was going to ask them questions or treat them differently. As teenagers they just want to be normal, and this situation allowed them to feel normal. It was lovely to see, and now they’ve all become friends on Facebook.”
Support Group meetings are held monthly on the last Sunday of each month (except December) from 2pm to 4pm. While this was the first family event of this kind held by the group the success of the event means that they plan to host others in the future. “We’ve had really positive feedback from those that attended and we are definitely going to host another one. We certainly want to do a number of smaller events throughout the year outside of meetings; the feeling of the day was ‘let’s do it again’.”
To find out more contact Joanne on 0419 170 183 or visit the Young Widows and Widowers Support Group on Facebook.