Contributed by Avow –
It was the spilled spaghetti sauce that made Anthony finally break into tears over the loss of his wife, Marie. During their 47-year marriage, she’d done all the cooking, laundry, housecleaning and even bill paying. Anthony had been lost in the weeks since her passing – not just from missing her, but from being overwhelmed by so many things that needed to be done around the house just to keep it – and himself – from falling apart.
Anthony found compassionate listeners and professional advice at an Avow bereavement support group. Anthony shares stories of small triumphs he’s achieved – like ironing his first shirt – and talks about how it feels to be alone after so many years of constant togetherness. After several months of attendance, he’s now healing well enough that he can reassure other new widowers that life will someday not seem so bleak. While he still misses Marie terribly, he is able to sleep through the night and to open up a little more to his concerned children.
While Anthony is a regular in Avow’s bereavement groups, Marie was never Avow’s patient. Avow opens its arms to anyone in the community – child, teen or adult – who has suffered a loss. Support groups meet several times a week at various times and in different locations around the county. There’s even a special group for those who are suffering the loss of a beloved pet.
“Supporting our community through loss is an essential part of our mission,” said Frank Sodano, Avow’s bereavement outreach supervisor. “Many people are surprised to learn that the majority of those who turn to us for grief support did not have a loved one in our program. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Avow can offer the same kind of professional help to the community that we offer to the families of our patients. Some participants don’t want to talk too much; others really benefit from sharing their experiences. Everyone is welcome to find their own comfort level.”
In addition to in-person group support, Avow’s bereavement specialists are available for telephone-based or in-person meetings. Avow also has a children’s bereavement specialist on staff. Special short-term sessions and workshops are also offered throughout the year to address specific bereavement needs such as pregnancy/infant loss, young widow/widowers and sudden loss. For more information visit www.avowcares.org or call Avow at 239-261-4404.
Avow Weekly Support Group Offerings
Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
at the Avow Campus, Naples
Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:00 PM at the Avow Campus, Naples
Second Thursday of the month,
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Avow’s Marco Office at 656 Bald Eagle Dr
Monthly in Immokalee, next session dates: March 27, April 24, May 29
5:00 – 6:30 PM at the Immokalee Library
Support groups are a community service offered at no charge.