When I started DC Widow, I did it for a number of reasons, but one of the main drivers was that I couldn’t find anything on the internet that spoke to me as a young widow. Most of the resources I initially saw were either faith-based for devout Christians or ones focused on much older people. Where were the resources for someone like me?
They existed, but it took a long time to find them. Below is a non-comprehensive list of some of the resources out there, including some I’ve written myself. Have you found something useful that’s not on this list? Let me know!
Listen, these resources may or may not be helpful to you. When I texted my widow friend Laura, she gave me a list that she had. But then she wrote, “I didn’t use any of these. The resources I found helpful were friends, bourbon, and punching bags. But you probably can’t say that?”
Oh, yes I can. You do you. Of course, I don’t want anyone getting sucked into terrible situations (please see the heading below “For Those in Crisis” if it’s needed). But if you find yourself in a boxing ring as part of your healing – and it actually works – well, then that’s a good choice for you.
Online and In-Person Groups for Widows
One of the things other widows ask me all the time is, “how did you meet your widow friends?” Yes, my widow friends (known as The Glamorous Cabal of Widows, or “The Cabal” for short) are a rad group of women, but we aren’t unique. There are other groups of widows out there, and if you’re looking for support, it exists! Here are some places to start:
- First, look through my post “How Do I Meet Other Young Widows?”
- The Dinner Party gets together grieving people in their 20s and 30s for informal group meetings. Most of these groups are made up of people who’ve lost a parent, but I was able to be a part of a smaller widow-specific group.
- A number of my widow friends have recommended this grief writing workshop from Refuge in Grief.
- Soaring Spirits International has many ways to connect with other widows – you can click through what’s relevant for you. They also run Camp Widow (which is, as it sounds, a “camp” for widows) in a few different locations during the year. I’ve never been but many widow friends recommend it.
- The Dougy Center, a grief center for children and families, has a really useful search tool to find grief support near you. Here in DC, I recommend The Wendt Center for group and individual counseling.
- Black Women Widows Empowered was created specifically for Black and Brown widows and has incredible resources on their website. They’re also a great follow on Instagram along with some others I profiled here.
- My friend Kumar Dixit offers grief counseling and other workshops and is DC-based, though he also does online grief groups. He’s a great resource who’s been working in the world of faith, hospice and grief for his entire life.
Online Grief Resources
There are so many online resources, helpful for a variety of contexts, and my list is only a small subset of what you can find.
- First, I’d start at Modern Loss. Their list of articles is extensive, and I’ve written for them as well, which you can read here. They also have a book.
- What’s Your Grief, out of Baltimore, has a great list of resources, which includes their podcast.
- For those who are/were caregivers, this resource from The National Alliance for Caregiving comes highly recommended from a cancer widow friend of mine.
- Hamiltons Funeral Home has dozens of free downloadable PDFs on grief. I include it here because there’s so many links to general grief help, but they also have categories for children and teens.
- The Eluna Network offers many resources for children and families experiencing grief.
- Keisha Blair offers a course on holistic healing, and is a fellow widow. You can find her information at the Institute on Holistic Wealth website.
- Whether you’re in DC or not, this list from the Wendt Center includes a large diversity of online loss resources.
- For those supporting a widow, I recommend this post by Jenny Lisk and this short video from Refuge in Grief.
Book Lists for Those Who Are Grieving
There are a number of different lists out there of books for those who are grieving. Here are some lists I recommend.
- My own list of favorite grief books, from a 2019 post and a short list of two books I loved from 2020.
- A list from Katie Hawkins-Gaar, a fellow widow and writer of My Sweet Dumb Brain
- A list from the Widowed Parent Podcast
- A list from Allina Health Hospice
- A list from The Hot Young Widows Club (includes books and other resources)
- A list from Where’s the Grief
For Those in Crisis
At the end of all of my Ask a Widow posts, I include a disclaimer just in case anyone thinks my advice is lacking (which, let’s be honest, it often is!) It reads like this: “This column is merely my point of view and is for informational purposes only. I am not a therapist or medical professional, and thus my thoughts should not be a substitute for advice from these professionals. Please get immediate help if you feel like harming yourself.” Then, I include a link to one of the following sources. There are others, obviously, and also regional/state resources that exist.
- The Crisis Text Line is here.
- The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255
Resources for Grieving Kids and Those Parenting through Grief
Of course, not everyone who is widowed young has children. But many do. For those grievers who also have to parent kids through their own grief, it can seem impossible. Here are some resources that have helped me.
- Honestly, the best place to start is with the Widowed Parent Podcast and it’s host Jenny Lisk. She’s a fellow widow whose kids were 9 and 11 when they lost their dad to brain cancer. I met Jenny years ago when she reached out to me to collaborate about an idea she had and then I interviewed her for a piece I wrote in the Post (see below). We’ve been friends ever since. She’s incredible because she has this extensive list of resources on her blog but also replies to everyone who contacts her!
- I’ve written a couple of researched pieces in the Post specifically for parents, including this one about grieving kids and this one about how to help parents facing crisis.
- I am working on a list for pre-teens and teens, but for now, the middle of this blog post has ideas about books for young kids who are grieving.
- The National Alliance for Children’s Grief is a great resource for finding local support and other resources.
- In DC: a recommendation from a reader is Hope for Grieving Families. (Her note? “It’s a great local organization for widows/widowers and kids who lost a parent or parental figure.”)
- There are also a number of camps for kids, but the ones most recommended to me have been Camp Erin (for grieving kids) and Camp Kesem (for kids who have a parent with cancer.) Both of these are free for participants.
For Those Supporting a Widow, a List of Blog Resources:
- I wrote this post just after Shawn died, about what friends can do. It’s mostly practical ways to help new grievers, and especially those with kids.
- This post is about a letter my cousin wrote me, just after Shawn died. It’s about reminding the grieving person that they are loved, among other things.
- This post is one about friendship that a lot of widows really like. It’s about what to do for a young widow, though it’s not super specific.
- And this post is how a married friend can support a single friend, which maybe could have gone in the next category!
And if You’re Dating, or Thinking About It…
I have a whole category about dating on my blog, which you can find here. It’s a huge list of the blog posts I’ve written about dating (I have a separate category called “Love and Chris” about finding my partner Chris.) It’s funny, because the blogs that are the most popular (and are the ones the people write to me about all the time) are blog posts that are about dating. Why? I think because if you’ve known love once, you want it again. And finding it again, especially as a young widow, can be tricky.
- At the end of my first year of widowhood, I wrote this article for Vox and this article for the Cut, both about dating as a young widow. Neither of the articles provide any sort of useful advice (I had no idea how to date back then, which both articles show) but they might be helpful for someone who just wants to commiserate over the difficulty of trying again.
- On that note, you may want to read my most popular blog post ever, Yes, It’s Okay to Want to Have Sex Again. Come for the blog post, stay for the comments (for real, you want to read those comments). You may also like the how-do advice piece I put together in the post How Do I Start to Date Again?
- I enjoyed the blog posts and other resources on Young, Widowed and Dating.
- Most widowed dating websites are a disaster for young widows because the average age is….not young. Honestly, I just used the traditional online dating sites – Hinge was particularly good – and in the end, I fell in love with my best friend’s brother. (Okay, clearly this category needs more help so….let me know if you have any ideas!)