WHEN Ger McNamara from Rathkeale lost his beloved wife Linda to cancer in April at the age of just 58, he experienced grief like none other he has known.
Linda was well known in Limerick business and travel circles for taking care of people’s holiday and business arrangements through her company, Ace Travel.
“I’ve lost members of my family and that was terrible but losing Linda was so different,” he told the Limerick Post.
“It’s hard to explain what a huge gap that leaves and how your whole life is different.”
He began a search to find a group of people who were in the same situation, looking to meet for mutual support.
“Family and friends are great support but there’s nothing like talking to someone who has gone through what you’re going through, who understands.
“I did find some support groups but they were all online. I really felt a group where people would meet face to face would be better.”
That gave the grieving Limerick man an idea.
“I put up a notice on one of the online groups asking if anyone would be interested in meeting in Limerick?”
Ger immediately got three responses. He’s now communicating with 15 people, and so the the Mid West Widowed Social Group was born.
“We wanted a group that will be supportive but it’s not a counselling group. What we envisage is having a meeting and a chat and two or three social outings a month.”
Ger said he believes that the social aspect of the group is very important as “many people left on their own need an outlet”.
“We don’t want to give the impression this is all about doom, gloom and misery. People will certainly talk to each other about their experiences but I would see this being a place where people form friendships and share other areas of their lives as well.”
The group will proudly host its first in-person meeting in the Castletroy Park Hotel on September 14 at 7.30pm. The only criteria for joining the group is that a person has lost their life partner. Members can be from anywhere, Ger adds.
“It can be a bit intimidating walking into a room full of new people, so we’re encouraging people to bring a friend this time,” said Ger.
Ger is asking anyone interested in attending or joining the group to contact him in advance by text, phone, or WhatsApp on 089 609 2192.