A BUNBURY widow’s search for people in similar situations has resulted in a state-wide following on Facebook.
Mother-of-two Michelle Moriarty is founder of the WA Young Widowed Support Group, an online group formed in 2018 for anyone in WA who has experienced the death of a partner.
Ms Moriarty told the Mail that despite having the support of family and friends, she initially felt lonely and isolated after the sudden death of her partner, Nathan.
“Nathan died unexpectedly on June 10, 2018. It was a huge shock to us. I didn’t have anyone around who actually understood what it was like to lose a partner,” Ms Moriarty said.
When Nathan passed, Michelle became a single mother to their son Cody and Nathan’s stepson, Aodhan.
“The people around me were extremely supportive and sympathetic, but no one actually got it.”
Six weeks after Nathan’s death, Ms Moriarty met a widow in Bunbury who was in similar circumstances.
As the network in Bunbury grew, Ms Moriarty went to Facebook to start the group then called the South West Young Widowed Support Group. She said the fast growth of the group resulted in the name change.
Ms Moriarty organises face-to-face peer support catch-ups in the form of dinners or park catch ups where widows can bring their children to also connect.
“Anyone can make posts and start a conversation. I hope that as people get stronger in their widowhood journey they can start creating their own catch-ups and meetings in their home town.”
Ms Moriarty is remarried and said she is moving forward, not moving on.
“Everyone has an opinion of young windows re-partnering and the time frame we do it in but there’s no time frame for grief. Ross is so supportive and respectful, we’re living our life with our boys and Nathan would want me to do that. A lot of us widows say that our hearts are so big that we’re able to love another person as well. I’m always going to love and miss Nathan.”
Ms Moriarty said young widowed people are welcome to join by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/westaustralianyoungwidowed
“I want people to know that there are people around you that get it. You’re not alone, there are connections out there.”