Bridie, Area Contact Volunteer

My name is Bridie Smyth. I’ve been a member of WAY since October 2019 and just recently became a volunteer. My husband Patrick died in December 2018 following a diagnosis of cancer 8 months earlier, my daughters were 14, 11 and 8 at the time.

I didn’t join WAY straight away even though I’d been told about it. The word “widow” was one I associated with elderly ladies who’d had a long and happy life with their husbands, not someone like me who was still juggling work,  school runs and after school activities!

After 9 months going through the motions, I can remember reading posts on WAYs public pages from someone who was a few years into widowhood and thinking for the first time, maybe I can survive this, maybe I will eventually want to do things again, maybe my children will be ok, maybe I will be ok in the end. I wasn’t convinced but there were so many positive posts of how others had survived, even thrived, doing new things, living again, not just existing and I so wanted to believe I could too so I joined. 

It gave me hope. Even though there were still so many dak days around then, just reading posts from others or posting within the security of a private group myself and reading all the comments and advice was a turning point for me. I realised all these people felt like me. 

Shortly after, I first met some of the Northern Ireland members and although we’re a very spread out group geographically, we have good connections and support through social media and try to arrange regular meet ups.  I know I’ve made some life-long friends through this group and coming up to 6 years on, my motivation to volunteer and be involved is to give that hope that we so desperately need in the early weeks/months when recently widowed. 
I’m now that person that someone can read about who has survived this, learnt to live again and is doing ok (most of the time).

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for WAY, please email Veronica here.