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Chris Raymond

"We are the Merry Widows"

By February 26, 2013

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Laughing woman pulling hat over eyes

Can you imagine a woman who experienced the death of her husband later describing herself as a "merry widow"? I suppose it's possible if the married man in question was a tyrannical ogre with no redeeming qualities and serious flatulence issues. I mean, who wouldn't rejoice?

But the women in question -- a dozen widows in the Lubbock, Texas, area who participated in a 2004 study concerning the effectiveness of their widow-to-widow grief support group as part of a Texas Tech University student's dissertation -- led perfectly normal lives and happy marriages, from what I can tell.

Thus, this is further evidence that grief support and recovery groups can prove helpful for anyone mourning the loss of a loved one who seeks/finds comfort in sharing the pain, anger, depression and other emotions associated with death with others.

Have you or someone you know participated in a grief support group? Was this experience helpful? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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March 1, 2013 at 7:27 am
(1) Audrey Pellicano says:


Would love to read the entire dissertation. My experience as a Grief Recovery Specialist has been to witness a variety of support groups some of which were helpful to participants and others which seemed to be keeping a captive audience where one retells their story over and over, week to week. My approach is to help widows to move forward and not stay stuck in their story. We lived our story, but, if we become our story we remain stuck. I commend these women who found each other and support the fact that yes, you can have joy after loss.

March 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm
(2) Chris, About.com Death & Dying Guide says:

Thanks for your comment, Audrey. You can download/read the entire dissertation (as a PDF) at this link.

You also touch upon one of the key issues that defines an effective support group from one less-so, i.e., moving forward vs. merely retelling each story endlessly in the group.

“Moving forward” is critical, and a competent specialist/counselor can often mean the difference between a participant defining him or herself by the past/present or eventually seeing/accepting that the future can offer joy after loss.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


March 12, 2013 at 9:28 am
(3) Jocelyn Brown says:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for publishing your listing of grief support resources! What a wonderful resource for anyone who has lost a loved one and is looking for support.

We currently provide services locally in Austin TX. We serve 3,000 central Texans a year, with 23 FREE loss-specific grief support groups each month, including loss of a child, loss of a spouse, mixed adult loss (parent, sibling, friend, etc.), loss to suicide, loss to crime, a children’s group (ages 5-12) and a teen group (ages 12-19). We offer adults groups in both Austin and Georgetown, and we also partner with area schools to offer groups onsite at schools.

You can learn more about us at our website: http://www.christicenter.org

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can access our grief support booklet at http://fortheloveofchristi.org/services/books

And we have compiled a national grief resource listing that people might find useful: http://fortheloveofchristi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/referral_list.pdf

I hope these prove helpful to you and your readers. Thank you so much for the work you do!


Jocelyn Brown
Manager of Volunteer Resources
The Christi Center
Austin, TX

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