Do You Have Post Traumatic Growth Syndrome?

Dave Sanderson survived the plane crash on the Hudson River in 2009.  In the video below, he talks about surviving the crash, the lessons he learned about himself and life, and post traumatic growth – finding new positive life-changing shifts in thinking and relating to the world, after a traumatic event.

Surviving and then learning to live again after trauma and loss is something everyone is faced with at one time or another. How you manage and how you continue moving on in a positive way is resilience, a topic members of Widowed Friends know very well.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about bouncing back and resilience, so we can share your advice  with others who may be struggling with loss or feeling alone or sad. How did you manage in the early days of loss; how do you manage now? What advice do you wish you’d received?

If you’d like to offer some thoughts, please feel free to enter them in the comments section here or email them to Dorothy, Stephanie or Lesley and we’ll put them together in another blog post. Together, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience which might help others find hope and strength as they move forward.

Let us know how you like the video!



September Heat……And Pizza Too!

With the humidex approaching 40C,  it was a warm crowd that met up at Stephanie’s for another great pizza evening.  Escaping to the garden didn’t offer much relief as the humidity made the outdoors a bit swampy, but a group braved the heat to enjoy the last of the summer outside.  Another group stayed inside to enjoy a little air-conditioning  and chatting. Everyone enjoyed hor d’oeuvre, Stephanie’s home-made sangria, a little wine, a little beer, some salads, pizza and desserts.

Thanks to all the food contributors as well as all the helpers.  Special thanks to Stephanie for opening her house to the crowd. Here are some pics from the event:

Strikes, Spares & Misses

Yes, it’s bowling time again!  We’ve started back at Burlington Bowl for another season of bowling fun. As you can see from the pictures, a crowd turned out to enjoy the evening with friends.  The next bowling event is on September 27th, so be sure to sign up on meet up to join the group. Many thanks to Phil for taking the pics.

Burger Night at Symposium

We had another great evening at one of our favourite restaurants, Symposium Cafe in Oakville!  Twenty-eight people came out for burger night and enjoyed the menu specials and good friends.

It was a rainy night so thanks to Robert who came prepared with a big umbrella and kindly escorted many to their cars during the passing storms.  Here are some pics from the event – just click on any pic to open the slideshow.

Labour Day Sunday at Edna’s

A huge thanks to Edna for opening her lovely home to a Widowed Friends group on Sunday.  Great weather made for a wonderful outdoor get together in Edna’s beautiful garden.

The menu included schnitzel and cabbage rolls prepared by Edna – they were delicious – as well as many other tasty dishes contributed by attendees.

Many thanks to our team of wonderful volunteers, Steph, Dorothy and Anita serving, Kathy F replenishing platters as needed, Glenda and Penny working to ensure everyone was served and Donna making sure everyone had what they needed.

A big thanks to chief kitchen organizer Glenda, and to Leslee and Penny for ensuring everyone had name tags, as well as to our fantastic, efficient clean up crew including Sharon, Kathy, Penny, Anita and Ursula.

A wonderful way to spend a long weekend afternoon!

Help Build Kindness in the World

With so many bad things going on in the world, it can seem like kindness is in short supply.

Yet an understanding listener or a word of encouragement can create waves of kindness that ripple throughout peoples’ lives, their families and the whole community.

It’s up to all of us to make sure we’re building kindness in the world around us, and Acclaim Health is providing an opportunity for you to make it happen in our communities through a variety of volunteer opportunities.

  • Volunteer at Acclaim Health – you’ll join an amazing team of wonderful, caring people working hard to make the world a better place.
  • Share this info with someone you think would make a great volunteer.
  • Attend an upcoming training session or choose another one of their other current volunteer opportunities

The two upcoming training sessions are free – check out the times and dates below:

Hospice Visiting Volunteer Training

One of the most meaningful volunteer experiences you’ll ever have.

Learn to companion a person with a life-threatening illness by listening, supporting and being present.

Next training session:

Thursday evenings from September 28 – November 30, 2017

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Acclaim Health, 2370 Speers Rd., Oakville

More Information | Apply Online

Bereavement Peer Support Volunteer Training

Have you experienced grief yourself and are now strong enough to help someone else move forward? Are you a caring and compassionate listener?

Help another through the grieving process by becoming a Bereavement Peer Support volunteer.

Next training session:

Monday afternoons from October 16 – December 4, 2017

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Church of the Nazarene, 320 Bronte Rd., Oakville

More Information | Apply Online

If you have questions about any of the volunteer opportunities, contact Dee Kearns at 905-827-8800 x2313  for more information.

Aloha From Donna’s Backyard

It was a perfect day for a Hawaiian themed pig roast, and Donna’s lovely backyard was the perfect venue for 50+ attendees to enjoy the weather, the bar-b-q and the great company.

It was also a surprise birthday celebration for Donna, Shirley K and Henny who all turned 39 -what a coincidence!  Check out the pics here – just click on any picture to open the slideshow.


Mad for Meatballs

If it’s Monday it must be meatballs!  Members get together at the Olive Press a couple of times a month to take advantage of the Monday special – delicious meatballs and spaghetti.  As you can see from the pictures, a big Widowed Friends crowd turned up to enjoy the dinner and each other’s company.  The next event is Monday August 28th, so be sure to sign up and join the crowd.

Burger Night at Symposium Cafe!

A great turnout this week at Symposium Cafe  for burger night! Symposium is one of Widowed Friends sponsors, so we are thrilled that so many came out to enjoy each other’s company at this great, friendly spot!  It was $5 burger night – a great deal for everyone. Check out the pics from the evening!

Saturday Night At Dominic’s Ristorante

It was a great pasta event on Saturday as a big crowd turned out at Dominic’s house for dinner.  Lots of salad, pasta and wine were served and everyone enjoyed getting together over the long weekend.  Many thanks to Dominic for hosting and cooking.  Check out the pics here:

It’s Not Too Late To Build Resilience……

No matter how old you are or what your life circumstances might be, we can all still build resilience as we face life’s ups and downs.

Resilience is a speciality of management and psychology professor Dr. Adam Grant who co-wrote Option B with Sheryl Sandberg. He was recently  interviewed in the New York Times regarding resilience building in mid-life. The good news is he thinks that it’s never too late to develop those skills that will help see you through life’s peaks and valleys.

You can read the article in more detail but his main points include:

  • Practice optimism – consider being a glass half full kind of person instead of a glass half empty and surround yourselves with similar optimistic people ( like Widowed Friends!) and you’ll feel more optimistic.
  • Rewrite Your Own Story – focus on the opportunities you have in life and not on the things that have happened and that you can’t change. It takes a bit of time to reframe your thoughts, but with practice you can learn to find that silver lining in the dark cloud
  • Don’t personalize setbacks – everyone has moments of misfortune or reversals – remember to focus on what you can do going forward in a positive way
  • Remember your own “comebacks” – we all have a tendency to focus on what we haven’t done well, but it helps to take some time to think about what we also have succeeded at in our lives.
  • Support others – this is the core principle of Widowed Friends! We get together to support each other and to provide strength and caring to help us all move forward positively with our lives.
  • Take a stress break – ensure that you are doing the things you enjoy, so your mind and body get a chance to recuperate from life’s stresses
  • Get out of your comfort zone – for many of us that might be attending a first Widowed Friends event, or going on a vacation or trying something new.  Each time you try something new, you build confidence in your abilities which helps build resilience.

Do you think you’ve re-built resilience following loss?  What tips can you share for people who are looking for ways to become stronger and happier? Share your tips in the comments section and we’ll post them.

Social Sunday in the News!

Over 40 people came out to this month’s Sunday Social at Hampton’s Restaurant  to enjoy each other’s company and catch up on the latest news.

We were joined this time by Mary from the publication SNAP Oakville who was there to learn a little more about Widowed Friends so she could share what our community is all about with her readers – she took lots of pictures and talked with many of the attendees.  You can take a look at her pictures from the event here. 

Congratulations to Penny and Brian – our raffle winners.  Check out photos from the event below – let us know your comments in the box below too!


Summer Reading & Watching

As you sit on your deck or balcony or in some lovely shaded backyard, it’s nice to have some good reading material to pass the time.

We have found a few articles we thought might be of interest to you, that aren’t exactly relaxing, but might be informative.

We often get asked about scams and viruses when we use our electronic devices.  There seems to be an endless variety of approaches the bad guys try to gain access to personal info.  This article from Forbes is focused on helping adult children prepare their aging parents against some of the scams out there and of course this is an American take on the issue, but we face similar issues in Canada and there are some good tips here that we can all put into practice.

Another good read is the website Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen.  Her latest blog post is entitled I Used to Compare My Old Life With My New One  – maybe a topic that will resonate with you.

And as long as we’re talking about grief and loss, Option B’s website has a good article by Rachel Roth about the profound wisdom and harsh realities of loss.

On a lighter note….here’s psychologist Shawn Achor discussing how to find happiness (he talks fast!).  What are you reading this summer – let us know in the comments section.


Oh Canada (Day)!

Huge thanks to Donna for hosting another big event at her house!  Over 50 WFH members came out for a Canada Day celebration bbq and social.

Despite some discouraging rain in the afternoon, the sun finally returned and the party moved outside to Donna’s deck and patio to enjoy the green trees and lovely surroundings in the backyard.

A rousing rendition of Oh Canada was sung by the crowd….in the rain!! We are a hardy bunch!

Thanks as well to all the many helpers who brought enough food to feed several armies and to all the organizers, dishwashers, and clean up crew including Dorothy, Stephanie, Glenda, Henny, Penny, Lesley and of course the amazing Donna, who hosted, cooked and organized simultaneously.

Happy Canada Day!



Walking for Carpenter Hospice

Widowed Friends recently participated in Carpenter Hospice’s  9th annual Hike for the Hospice.

Carpenter Hospice offers both residential-based care to people in the last stages of their lives, and community-based programs for people dealing with grief or a life-limiting illness. It lets residents spend their final days together with loved ones in an environment that is peaceful, comfortable and meaningful.

Billy and Grace S missing from this pic!

Walking just 4.7 kilometres through neighbourhoods around the hospice,  the Widowed Friends team raised over $1000 for the organization.  The weather co-operated nicely and the crowd of over 400 made their way around the course easily, stopping  mid-way to add the name of a loved one to the remembrance wall.  Arriving back at Mountainside Recreation Centre, everyone was treated to lunch provided by a great team of volunteers.

Thanks to all the participants for coming out on a Saturday morning to support a great cause.

Chet & John through the finish line!
Memory Wall

Grief Expert Nancy Berns Explains How To Carry Joy & Grief Together

With thanks to the Option B website, here’s a video the site shared that we thought might be of interest to you.  It’s just over 17 minutes long.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. Do you agree with  Nancy Berns’s thoughts on closure?


Feasting With Friends!

Many thanks to Vishan for opening his house on a rainy Sunday for a potluck feast. With so many members attending and everyone bringing a contribution, there was enough food to feed a couple of small armies!  A great team of volunteers ensured all the food kept warm, then helped serve and organize the numerous dishes and then followed up by cleaning all the dishes, so everyone was able to take home clean casseroles and serving dishes. It was a great warm and welcoming way to spend the afternoon!

Check out the pictures – just click on any picture to open the slideshow!




Woof, Woof

As  you’ve probably heard, the next Halton Dance Party is scheduled for March 4th and is in support of the Lions Foundation Dog Guides program. The Lions Foundation of Canada’s mission is to assist Canadians with medical or physical disabilities by providing them with Dog Guides at no cost. To do this, the Foundation operates Dog Guides Canada, a national training school and charity that assists individuals with disabilities through specialized Dog Guide programs.

This dance will have TWO special appearances – the first from Peter & the Elegants, a live 50’s and 60’s band AND a visit from some canine friends from the Dog Guides program.

If you’d like to attend, please contact Dorothy or Stephanie and let them know. Here’s an interesting video about the amazing dog guides program and the many ways canine buddies help out their human friends.

Sunday Social on a Snowy February Day!

Despite the big snowfall, a great crowd turned out for Widowed Friends monthly social event. Whether digging out from a few centimetres of the white stuff or just driving through the slush, everyone came and enjoyed a great meal at Hampton’s and a meet up with friends and new acquaintances!!  Congratulations to Anna for winning the raffle prize!!

Check out the pictures below – just click on any picture to open the slideshow.

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