Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home Community affairs director Rene Williams knows first-hand what it’s like to lose a spouse.
She lost her husband seven years ago.
Knowing how devastating that loss can be, Williams, together with Ponte Vedra Valley owners Brent and Jacque Headrick, created Lilies of the Valley, a free social support group for widows to help them adjust to life after loss.
“Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home and Cemetery realized the widows they served needed something more,” Williams said. “Widows must overcome so many challenges in starting life over without their husbands; most people never realize that life after they sympathy cards and flowers and funeral events can be devastating to a woman who has lost her husband.”
The support group was launched in May with about 10 people in attendance, according to Williams. The following month, attendance doubled.
Networking and an opportunity to socialize and build friendships are among the opportunities offered to attendees of the widows-only support group. Meetings include an open discussion, where the women can express their grief and struggles, and a complimentary lunch to encourage social time.
Guest speakers will also be scheduled to help provide resources to widows. June’s meeting featured speaker Renee Stein, a clinical social worker and therapist who addressed common issues and tips to help with the grieving process.
The group plans to bring in future speakers to help with other challenges widows face in rebuilding their new lives.
“Topics such as financial management, faith, socialization, relationships, paperwork and real estate are areas that widows typically need guidance with,” Williams said.
A call line has been set up by group members as a way for them to support each other in between meet-ups. There is also a Lilies of the Valley Facebook page, where participants can post information and offer encouragement.
The Lilies of the Valley social support group luncheon is open to the public and meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in the reception hall at Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral home, located at 4750 Palm Valley Road in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The next meeting will be held July 12; reservations should be made by July 8. For more information or to make a reservation, call (904) 285-1130.