Widows from across the nation are supporting each other through e-mail correspondence with a program called Widow Match. This program pairs women who have lost their husbands with other women whose circumstances are similar to theirs. Widows in the Widow Match program are: within ten years of each other in age, have lost their husbands within six months of each other, and have the same situation regarding whether or not they have children. Joining the program is as easy as providing the requested information, then each member is sent the e-mail addresses of up to three other women who meet the stated criteria. Once these e-mail addresses are received, correspondence can begin immediately. By sending a letter of introduction to any or all of the names on the list they received, a new member can start a written dialog with any or all of the women they have been matched with about the variety of challenges widows face daily.
After receiving their initial matches, members are entered into the Widow Match database. As new women join this program the variety of circumstances within the database grows, and the potential to find several matches for any new member continues to increase. Each person in the database becomes a potential match for new members. If the matches that were originally received are not compatible for any reason, a match may still be found through correspondence received from incoming widows. In this way each woman serves as both the initiator of contact and the recipient of contact for as long as she remains in the database.
Having the ability to share the tumultuous feelings grieving creates with another woman who knows these feelings so well, is a relief and a comfort. The convenience and safety of sharing your feelings from your very own home, in your pajamas if you like, makes being a part of this on-line community easy and non-threatening. The Widow Match program gives a widow an opportunity to support someone else as she is supported herself, to listen with her heart as she is heard with compassion, and to offer a glimmer of hope for the future even as she searches for that hope herself. The power of shared experience and the confirmation that we are not alone in our grief are both powerful elements of healing and hope.
One Widow Match member said this of her experience:
"I want to let you know how much you have helped me as I recover from my loss. I have depended on my matches to get me through and they have always been there for me. We talk by phone now and I look forward to the day when we can meet. I truly believe that I would not be doing this well without Widow’s Bond and the Widow Match program. Thank you for the gift you have given me and I’m sure so many others."
Another member shared:
"I live in Kansas and was matched with a woman in northern California. We both lost our husbands in June. We are similar in age, have children similar ages, and similar circumstances. We have exchanged e-mails on a regular basis and now visit on the phone. She has been the best support for me, because she knows exactly what I am going through and I understand what she is going through. We are on the same page! It is so wonderful to have someone who really understands and relates to me. I can't thank you enough for this match!"
If you would like to sign-up for the Widow Match program please visit www.widowsbond.com.