Finding support with grief through WAY's LGBTQ+ community
Suzanne helps to share her story of being widowed and then finding support with grief through the WAY LGBTQ+ community.
"I was widowed at 50 when Tim, who I expected would be my happy-ever-after following a marriage break-up, died suddenly from heart failure linked to his type 2 diabetes. Although we'd known each other since our early 20s, we’d been married less than ten years.
I was fortunate to find WAY Widowed and Young and the subgroup WAYWOCs (Widowed and Young WithOut Children) just a few days after I was widowed. I can honestly say that I couldn't have got through the past four years without this incredible bunch of young widows, male and female, cis and trans, straight and queer.
We have shared (virtually and face-to-face) our tragedies, our successes, our tears, our laughter, and any number of truly bad puns and Marmite-related comestibles. I’m bisexual, I’ve known since my 20s but been married and divorced and then married and widowed, each time to a man, had me hiding in plain sight. I’m now in a same-sex relationship with an amazing woman called Dee and we’re getting married in August.
It’s important to me that I am a bisexual woman, and that I am still me, whoever I’m in a relationship with.
Getting involved in queer communities has helped me explore who I am. The amazing WAY LGBTQ+ group allowed me to be out in a safe space, where I felt supported and listened to. These amazing people looked out for me as I came out to my family, and told them that I had a new partner. The LGBTQ+ group is a little glittery place of fabulousness filled with people who are looking after each other and shouting out for each other. We celebrate the good days and the successes, support each other through the bad days, make each other laugh, talk about frocks and lipstick and films, rant, and send each other virtual hugs. I have been fortunate that, apart from some rare occasions, I’ve seen nothing but acceptance. My family, friends and village have fully accepted my partner, which is fantastic. But I know that the WAY LGBTQ+ group would have been there for me if it hadn’t been like that."
Note: Suzanne uses the word widow, as many of her fellow widows do, as a generic word for everyone - male, female, cis, trans, non-binary, queer, married, unmarried.
If you are looking for LGBTQ+ Bereavement support you can find out more here.