Neither of us needed another friend.
Moe’s husband Andy had died by suicide in September.
My husband Aaron had died of brain cancer in November.
But everyone wanted us to meet one another, even people who didn’t know either of us, who were only familiar with our stories through social media, wanted us to meet.
“You’re both widows!” they said, “you should hang out!”
“Ick,” we thought. “Why?”
Neither of us wanted to be widows, let alone be friends with a widow. But, for the sake of our coffee shop ladies (shoutout to Coffee Shop NE in Minneapolis) we agreed to meet up.
The author Laura McKowen wrote:
"One stranger who understands your experience exactly will do for you what hundreds of close friends and family who don’t understand cannot. It is the necessary palliative for the pain of stretching into change. It is the cool glass of water in hell.”
That’s what meeting each other was: a cool glass of water in hell. Or, a hot cup of coffee on a freezing cold winter day. Every thought and feeling we hadn’t said out loud to anyone else yet came pouring out. The hour we promised one another stretched into two, three... into text messages and late night phone calls, into a friendship we never wanted and couldn’t do without.
The more you talk about being widowed, the more people in your life push you toward other widows. And throughout the Twin Cities, people pushed their widowed friends, families and co-workers toward us.
The Hot Young Widows Club itself has had many iterations, from Moe and me and a few other widows meeting for brunches and dinners and happy hours, to eventually an online support group that could hold what turned out to be an endlessly growing group of people around the world who have lost their person.
We do our best to include as many people as possible: men, women, gay, straight, unmarried... if the labels fits, you get to wear it.
It’s a club nobody wants to join, whose cost of entry is way too high and unfortunately non-negotiable.
It’s the club we never wanted to join, and can’t live without.
The Hot Young Widows Club E-Course is a guide to grief work for widows created by Nora McInerny and holistic licensed psychologist Dr. Anna Roth. It dives into some of the most challenging and important aspects of grief to help you understand not only what is happening to you but what you can do about it. Sign up here!