Dr. Yopp (second from left) and the Widowed Parent team
at UNC Chapel Hill’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Center
Sometimes we meet people who are traveling a parallel path to our own. We think we’re the only one who is passionate about a particular issue and then meet another who is equally passionate about it!
I had one of those aligned meetings today with a psychologist who deeply cares about widowed persons. His name is Dr. Justin Yopp and he’s part of a dedicated team of research psychiatrists and psychologists at The Widowed Parent project, which is housed at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Yopp and his colleagues have been studying widowhood for eight years now and have come to realize that widowhood is a different beast than other types of grief. They published a book about it last year called The Group. The book chronicles the lives of men in their widowers support group.
Dr. Yopp and his colleagues have been surveying widowed parents with children still living in the home to better understand their challenges and devise ways to help them (and their children) cope. They need your help to learn more about widowed women!
So, if you’re a widowed woman with dependent children and lost your spouse less than three years ago, please take a few minutes of your time to help the folks at the med school learn more about what our lives are like.
There are so many of us struggling to recover our lives. I’m doing my part to help with retreats and the Widows Recovery System, and I’m grateful to Dr. Yopp and the Widowed Parent team for understanding that widowhood is not your ordinary grief beast. It’s a raging monster that tears apart every single aspect of your life and deeply affects the life of your child.
If I could wish upon a star, I’d wish that all hospitals, hospices, and medical schools would not only understand the comprehensive and life-changing challenges of widowhood but also be committed to providing healing retreats and recovery resources designed specifically for the widowed! Add your wish upon a star to mine and, who knows, maybe our wishes will come true!