Finding Help for Widows in Oklahoma


There are more than 100,000 widows in Oklahoma. As death is inevitable, for each one of us, many of us will be the one left behind, to walk this lonely road alone. The impact of grief and widowhood is not something, for which one can prepare, even when the death is anticipated. In shock, a widow has no idea what she needs, when people ask what they can do to help. 

Studies show that widows lose 75% of those they believed were friends when they lose their husband. No longer part of a couple, she is no longer included in couples activities.  When friends  call she may not feel like talking. Assuming she doesn’t want to be bothered they eventually give up trying to reach her. Friends who don’t know what to say or do avoid her.  While grieving the loss of their loved one widows grieve the unexpected loss of long time friends. When no one from the church reaches out to her, a widow moves from singing in the front row of the choir, to the back row of the church and then out the door.



The loss of her partner, compounded by her loss of identity and role, as someone’s wife, has a profound effect on her sense of self esteem. The stigma of being labeled a “widow” and with no community to rely on, she feels like a misfit and experiences intense loneliness. Wondering, if there is any point of going on, she may simply withdraw from life.

Struggling with the pain of trying to go on without him the widow may put on a brave act, to appear normal, not understanding the importance of grieving. Attempting to avoid grief by suppressing emotion can have long term, destructive consequences manifesting as physical symptoms. Feeling lost, alone and worn out the fatigue, anxiety and stress affect her health, which, in turn, affects her memory.  A widow, feeling deep loss and sorrow may find that she is unable to comprehend  or think clearly, making it hard for her to handle even a slightly difficult task. During a stressful event, such as grief, catecholamines suppress activity in areas of the brain concerned with short term memory, concentration, inhibition and rational thought. (Simply put: Our brains lower our ability to remember*or concentrate, to protect us, when life is too overwhelming or too painful.)

Yet, a widow is immediately called upon to start making important decisions as there is so much needing to be handled in a very short period of time. Left alone to grapple with financial and legal questions, while unable to think clearly, decisions based on just getting past the loss, can be very flawed. Making major life decisions or missteps, while in shock, can prove complicated or perhaps impossible to undo years down the road.

* Ginkgo biloba is a well-known herb that sends blood up to your brain and could help with short and long-term memory. It seems to help balance the various catecholamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenalin), as well as serotonin and cortisol levels. Taken together, this can help revitalize a fading memory, reduce anxiety and improve your mood.  Dear Pharmacist



It is impossible for anyone, including a therapist or counselor, to understand what a widow is going through, or how to respond, unless they personally have lost a spouse. Reading books and other literature, about being a widow, is nothing at all like a widow talking to people who have been through it. No amount of therapy is going to be enough, unless a widow has other widows to talk to. Although each has a different story and a different journey, widows all have one thing in common. While the circumstances may be different, the feelings aren’t.

Often well-meaning family and friends expect her grief to be over by the end of a year. A therapist may try tell widows how they should feel and when we should be over their grief. Everyone grieves differently; coping, adjusting and healing in their own way and on their own timetable. Grief, a normal part of healing feels like being lost with no connection to anything. There are several stages of grieving in the healing process, including depression which may seem like it will last forever. It is important for the widow to understand that depression, from grief, is not a sign of mental illness.

Although anger is another stage of the healing process, the widow may be shocked and ashamed of her feelings of anger, at the loved one who died, for causing her pain. The guilt for being angry can make her more angry and confused.   A widow can help another widow understand that her feelings are normal and that she is not going “crazy”, which helps her to feel safe. Sharing with other widows what she is experiencing she discovers, to her relief hat she is not alone. Someone who has endured the same crippling heartbreak, and known the absolute depth of despair can provide comfort and hope, by assuring the widow that what she is  feeling is normal. Widows will confide in each other their true feelings and thoughts that they won’t share with a non-widow. What is difficult to put into words, another widow understands, having been down a similar path of loss and grief. The insights and experiences of other widows, is invaluable.



   Amazing things happen as widows share pain, sadness and tears as they talk of unrealized hopes, dreams and expectations, for the future and now the journey through life, after the death of their spouse. They become each others mentors and good friends as they share love, laughter and advice based on their own journey and experience and brainstorm solutions to problems.  A lot of healing takes place as the widow moves through the healing process, at her own pace, looking to the future, with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a deepened faith. Often it is through caring for others that we find healing in ourselves an deepening in our faith. Widows who feel accepted and welcome appreciate feeling needed and are more likely to volunteer, within the church. We grieve with hope. (1 Thess 4:13-18)


 Purple heart Facebook: A Heart for the Widowed

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”      ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

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1 Response to Finding Help for Widows in Oklahoma

  1. Dawn says:
    • Something deep within us dies when a loved one passes on.
    • Many widowed experience isolation, loneliness, fear of dependence, fear of financial problems, and the tendency to trust people they don’t know.
    • Isolation can rob you of socialization and purpose–two key components of health and wellness. Depression can become a major factor. Depression drains energy. Just getting out of bed can be exhausting.
    • Predictors of a person’s longevity —In a recent survey conducted by psychologist and best-selling author, Dr. Leo Buscaglia, ninety percent of those questioned responded that they had not one person with whom they could share their most intimate secrets yet a person’s close relationships and social integration our human connections… have an impact on all aspects of our well-being, including our physical health. There is life-giving power of having social connections. Those with intimacy in their lives, those with support systems and frequent face-to-face interactions were not only physically and emotionally healthier, but they also lived longer. People who live longest have people around them. Those with stronger connections were half as likely to die as those with weaker ties. Having friends trumps just about everything else when it comes to your health.It’s why women, who tend to prioritize spending time with their friends more than men, live an average of six years longer


    Knowing that there is always someone there for you in the time of need — either a strong sense of family or a strong circle of friends, or both, helps to manage stress. A sense of belonging and sense of being needed is far more important to health than getting regular medical checkups.

    We all need others who can carry us when our own strength has simply left us.

    Being engaged with the family or community (religious, spiritual, friends, neighborhood or volunteer organizations) eliminates social isolation, the root cause of multitudes of ailments.

    Work, when not stressful, whether voluntary or for income or makes you get up and look forward to something in the day a “must have” as everyone needs a purpose to get up in the morning. To be able to say, “Thank God it’s morning,” rather than, “Oh God, it’s morning.

  2. Lonely nights when you need to talk to someone but it is too late to call you can e-mail, even if you don’t get an immediate response just typing can be cathartic, post on Twitter, reach out to friend on Facebook or be part of a web discussion group…. use social media to reach out to other widows, blog, TV See the company of folks who have been there. Yet it’s not enough to text or email. The actual health benefits of socializing are only achieved through in-person contact.
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  4. Like all relationships, each person’s grief is unique and complex. While no one can ever totally understand your grief or what your loved one means to you, you share a sacred bond with many others who are also hurting and lonely. Many people in early grief find comfort with other widows who have experienced a loss and can understand some of your feelings and questions.
  5. We need a way to connect with other widows. Many refuse to go to a typical “support” group, needing instead simply other widows who will listen as only they will understand. Ask a widow what is hard for them and they will not tell you. However, put them in a group of 3-5 other widows and they’ll talk and be relieved that they aren’t the only ones dealing with loneliness, depression, grief that goes on for years when other think they should be over it. A Valentines banquet is a great way to begin to meet other widows. From there a small group can be introduced at the church (Some say the second year is the hardest. Non-widows may talk about closure but for the widowed there is no closure. If there were they would not care (Men are asking for widower to widower.)



  6. The first year, after the death of her husband, the widow is in shock, struggling with deep grief, loneliness and confusion. The widow tries to hide her frustration and fears, yet the suffering stays with her.
  7. it helps to talk with someone you trust with those concerns. In a recent survey conducted by psychologist and best-selling author, Dr. Leo Buscaglia, ninety percent of those questioned responded that they had not one person with whom they could share their most intimate secrets.
  8. Research tells us that only another widow can understand the pain of a widow and that no amount of therapy is going to be enough unless a widow has other widows to talk to.
  9. “small groups” (made up only of widows) which help widows socialize with each other. (Widows need a listening heart; someone who understands where they are on their journey and to give them hope.)

  10. A short but good video about what they are doing for widows in Duncan Oklahoma to knit the hearts of widows:
  11. In a support group along with the tears we find laughter and friends who check up on us often to see if we are okay, who watches out for us and wants the very best for us,

    People like that are hard to find.

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  13. other people in your life will probably avoid talking about it. It is normal for even your closest friends and relatives and even you not to speak the name of the one you have loved and lost. Somehow Still hurting deeply from his absence we pretend that someone we loved deeply and intimately must never have even existed. Yet, talking about a loved one is a way to honor him and the gift of this relationship that is a part of our lif
  14. Everyone has problems and learning to share them is essential. Hiding pain requires an enormous amount of energy; sharing it is liberating. ~ Carly Simon



    • Belonging to a faith-based community (attending services four times a month) can add up to 14 years to one’s life.
    • Caring churches may offer a small group of ‘widows only’ where ladies who have been through a similar loss, can come together to talk about their problems, and support each other reassuring one another of their sanity and trading coping tips.
    • In a widow only group you don’t hide from the hardships of your losses. You can be real, sharing your feelings and thoughts inspired by sorrow. People who believed that no one ever felt this much pain actually hear others say the same thing in the group. It helps to hear others express the same feelings you’ve been wrestling with, to be able to comfort, support and encourage each other and discuss topics that affect widows such as finances and dating. This may help others on the journey towards regaining happiness.
    • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.



    • While there are no maps to guide a widow through fresh grief, others who have made this journey have a window into the unspoken pain of other widows and share an understanding of the heart that is deeper than words; Your pain can make you more understanding, compassionate and loving.
    • We help ourselves when we help others. While my own life is not perfect or serene, those heartbreaks, disappointments and even my weaknesses can serve as stepping-stones to helping others. Those who have also had their heart broken are the only ones who understand what widows go through.
    • each hearing in the lives of others some of our own experiences, we realize that the road we walk is one others walk as well.
    • If you are a widow, you have a profound insight can use grief you have known all too well to help other widows. Others gain strength realizing they are normal.Validating the feelings that loss brings. A lot of healing comes to both….from giving back to others,”
    • A widow understands another widow spending her days unable to get out of bed, wrapped in her late husband’s bathrobe as a way to stay close to him. A fellow widow, knows the pain all too well.
    • Some wake up at an early hour and instant message others in their grief group or go to grief internet chat rooms so they can communicate with other late-night grievers. There are lots of them including but certainly not limited to:
    • Spending time with other widows Support group told stories and share an understanding deeper than a spoken word can help move along the grieving process.
    • If you are a widow or widower, you know the pain. Take the first step to reach out to others who are also widowed as they, too, are hurting. Reach out to others and allow them to help carry that heavy pain. We can use the struggles and pain -the things that hurt us — to be used for the greatest blessings. Often it is through caring for others that we find healing in ourselves and deepening in our faith. In whatever community, give of yourself to make it warmer, closer. ‘To serve is to love’, and to serve is to heal, too”. Done right you will get back more than what you give.
    • God has given us two hands, one to receive and the other to give with”. -Rev. Billy Graham
    • When we wait for someone else to do something, others might be waiting on someone else and it may never get done. They may be waiting for others to do something.
    • If babies were too afraid of falling, they would never learn to walk. We only achieve by taking risks. We learn by trial and error. We grow from experience. We gain confidence from success and wisdom from failure. It takes courage to face your fear and dive in headfirst without knowing what lurks below. overcome obstacles, persevere.
    • We may have this great loss, but we can always reach out to each other in love, understanding and compassion. ~ From Beyond The Tears Guideposts Magazine January 2015 By Melissa D’Arabian, as told to Celeste McCauley, Senior Editor.

      Don’t ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet. (Don’t expect anyone to invest in something that you aren’t willing to invest in yourself.)

    • We find that when we contribute joy to the world, no matter what our problems are, what our health is or what our circumstances, it boomerangs back on us, bringing us joy. you have personal attributes waiting to be tapped to bring joy to others. The world needs the gift of you. get something started to help fellow widows.
    • As ye sow, so shall ye reap!
    • is a short but good video about what widows in Duncan Oklahoma are doing. There is such a difference when they left than when they arrived,at a widow only support group


    An activity that motivates you-the reason you wake up in the morning…. gives your life meaning. … Researchers found that the 569 participants who died had scored lower on ratings of life purpose and social relationships than those who survived. Their conclusion: Having a purpose in life provides a buffer against mortality, no matter your age.

    Sense of purpose can come from a variety of sources, but volunteering to help others in some way is a common one. We often find comfort in doing for others. “There’s growing evidence that it not only keeps you healthier but might help you live longer.” For it is in giving that we receive. ~ Volunteer Work Can Open Doors

    Having a sense of purpose might contribute to longevity by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. “Chronic stress leads to inflammation, which is associated with every age-related disease,”


    Days may seem weighed down by a sense of hopelessness. Anniversaries and holidays that used to mean joy and celebration can be among the toughest days of the year. We feel a sense of loss on anniversary, holidays or when we least expect it. We may still feel a lump in the throat years after the loss because healing does not mean forgetting, and because moving on with life does not mean that we don’t take a part of our lost loved one with us. You may want to forgo certain traditions or obligations if they seem too burdensome, and, instead, create new traditions that memorialize your loved one. Arrange for a tea or luncheon for a small group of friends. See VALENTINES


    You might be angry with God but God can handle it. He will still love you. Be honest with God. As Job learned, God wants to be in relationship with us no matter how we are feeling.

    Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5 ESV

    Allow God to Step in: -“For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name…. Isaiah 54:5

    Trust that life doesn’t end with death. Trust that loved ones who have died are forever with God and that God is forever with us, too.

    Happiness is knowing there is a God…and being on speaking terms with him.

    Be aware of God’s presence. Let this be your foundation. your compass, your grounding. Walking with God through your faith will deepen your faith. God will walk you through it. You are an integral part of God’s plan and precious to God. Your grief may not be finished at 18 months or when you thought it would.

    It is powerful to remember that there is a Divine Light within us all, even in our darkest days. Like the sun, it is there even in the midst of storms, in the middle of the hardest nights, in the deepest recess of our grief.

    What I know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that God is with me. I know that he’s always been with me. It is evident in everything I have endured–and the fact that I made it through with some sanity. –acclaimed actor and director TYLER PERRY, who survived an abusive childhood

    Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. ~ Debbie Macomber.

    Faith is having a positive attitude about what you can do and not worrying at all about what you can’t do.


    Praying always helps. Pray and keep praying even when it is hard. If words don’t come, just know that you are never really alone. God is there for those who cry out to him in their sorrow.

    This should be the motto of every follower of Jesus Christ: Never stop praying, no matter how dark and hopeless it may seem. -Billy Graham

    When mom became a widow she said “What good am I now? Why am I even here? I reminded her, “Mom, you are a prayer warrior. That’s what you are doing.” She said ” Oh yeah – I wasn’t thinking.”

    PRAYER Check out this wonderful, feisty 90 something:


    Do things you like to do that will put you in touch with others.

    Invitations may be difficult to accept, but it is best to accept as many as possible.

    Call people, as well as expecting them to call you.

    Healing power of tribute making-capture the essence of your lost loved one in your tribute and try to lose yourself in the making of the tribute.

    Books on grief help with the sleepless nights to find much solace. There are books at the library by people who know grief firsthand.

    Keeping a journal can provide a healing catharsis.

    Maintain your strength with a nutritious diet and physical exercise, especially walking helps clear your mind.

    Music of all types can be a mood elevator.

    Certain lifestyles lead to longevity more than individual habits. Such as:

    Incorporating walking into a lifestyle rather than doing exercise certain times a week goes a long way and would be more sustainable, and is inexpensive. Exercise vigorously to burn away the anger.

    A sense of humor also goes a long way when we can laugh at life’s idiosyncrasies, rather than feel impaled by them.

    Join a club or take a class …. increase your social network just by planting a community garden in front of your house. Read the whole story

    For Instant Relaxation, Breathe in while you count slowly to four. Exhale while you count to eight. Repeat for one minute. The trick is to always exhale for twice as long as you inhale. Try it now. Why it works: Breathing at this rhythm increases your heart rate variability—the slight differences in time from one heartbeat to the next. In the long term, high heart rate variability protects against stress, anxiety, and pain. In the short term, it shifts your body from an anxious state to a calm-and-connected one. Muscles relax, heart rate decreases, and your mood improves. In other words: You’re ready to win the day.

    Senior center close by may have something to offer.

    The home you shared with your spouse may feel empty but you have the power to change perceptions. Reframe the way you see your home. Fill the emptiness by surrounding yourself with consoling reminders of your spouse, photos, mementos from special trips, a favorite afghan, book or music you enjoyed together.

    Make your house into a place that soothes and shelters you-a place where you want to return to at the end of the day.

    Fill the rooms with your own favorites such as pillow, plants and flowers-things that make you feel good and bring you comfort. You might want to move things to your preference for which drawer to keep the silverware or maybe you want to sleep in on Saturday. Living alone allows you the freedom to follow your own preferences. And that’s a gift you can give yourself in the difficult days.

    An animal-a dog, cat, bird or even a fish brings life to your home. *A pet, (not puppy, they can be too much to handle) but an older dog or kitten or cat can bring much comfort and focus a caring nature. Pets can be a source of comfort with their unabashed affection. You might be the only human in the home but you aren’t living alone arranges for people to receive postcards from around the world. get a kick out of getting mail from faraway places. –Postcrossing has almost 500,000 uses in 214 countries, as of December 2014. Simply create a user name and fill out your profile. When you are ready to send a postcard, the site shows you a member profile with an address and a postcard ID. You mail that member a postcard, the recipient logs the ID on the site, then you are eligible to receive a postcard from another user. picking out the cards to share your favorite spots in your area is fun. THen see what comes in your mailbox and from where.

    Give out birthday cards, anniversary cards to neighbors …(people might donate birthday and anniversary cards they bought and never sent)

    Widows could make a book for children who are “aging out” of foster care and have never had anyone teach them the basics of running a home— some of us got in high school or by having a mom who taught us. (How to fold fitted sheets, how to make a bed, how to read a measuring cup, do a budget, etc) The book could be put on a blog, as young people will read a blog (they all have smartphones) and with a blog you can keep adding to it as people come up with more ideas. It could be linked to youtube videos to help. This might be a project for an Eagle Scout to take on-to set it up on a blog.

    Why should you just sit inside your home? Most people keep to themselves and don’t know much about their neighbors so a monthly get-together, inviting neighbors for tea and homemade desserts. At each ‘party’ sharing a fun fact about themselves (a special interest, trips they had taken, former careers, where they lived in the past, hobbies, etc.) writing it on their name tag helps them find a common bond with others fairly quickly.)

    An email sent to your children upon awakening early each morning, to be waiting in their inbox for when they wake up, reassures them that you are fine. Sharing your plans for the day (going to the doctor, to the grocery store) is a proven catalyst for more extended conversations, a source of insight into your life and a deeper closeness for the family. (Should there not be an e-mail, one of the children will call to make sure you are ok.)



    Several good ones are on Pinterest.




    NEEDING TO MOVE: When a loved one passes many widowed and their families find themselves on spending hours on the internet, in a flurry of information-gathering.

    A Place for Mom provides this: Senior Living Planning Guide is

    Life’s Vintage Guide to Housing and Services can be read hereis and is also at all 24 Tulsa City-County Libraries in Tulsa.Pick up your free copy.


    Oklahoma Man Built a Town for Widows; Charles Page of Tulsa Also Helps Deserving Ones to Get Work and Tides Them Over the Hard Places If Need Be. A New Form of Philanthropy (September 12, 1915)


    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world. – Author Paul Hardy

    Be sure you read: How long does one grieve which is a


    Widowed Persons Service (WPS) Tulsa OK A volunteer organization established in 1965, of widowed persons helping each other adjust to being widowed. Only widowed persons eligible. A social organization whose mission is to have fun and help people make new friends.

    Phone: (918)-357-1753


    Every Weds., 3:30-9 pm (greeters at door, 3-4 pm) dinner followed by business meeting, then cards and Bridge, contact Jan Paulson at (918)286-7183;

    Every Sat., Noon-5pm, Western Sizzlin, 6510 E. 21st St. Luncheon, followed by cards and Bridge, contact Polly Mackey 918-627-3665.


    Pres: Jan Paulson, (918)286-7183,

    VP: Bobbie Durbin (918)627-4814,

    Sec: Raylene Barclay 918-806-1616,

    Treas: Carol Testa 918-895-0693

    Officers elected annually in December.

    The WPS was Last Updated 1/2013