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A Hit-and-Run Crash Transformed Me Overnight Into a Widow

Living a nightmare, here's who I turned to for help.

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Grouping of 4 women hugging and looking at a sunset together
Ruby Ash
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Are you seeking lasting connections later in life? Would you like to make new friends? Then join our closed Facebook group, The Ethel Circle, today, Lots of women are making friends for the first time in years.
 

Ladies hold onto your hats because here's a revelation: We are clever cookies. That's precisely why we keep our besties within arm's reach — or at least within a quick text's distance.

Hailing from a tiny dot on the Arkansas map, I was a country girl far from my school pals, which basically turned me into Miss Independent and my siblings into my unwitting BFFs. Skipping town for the grand adventure of adulthood, I dove into academia, carved out a career and stumbled headfirst into the kind of love that sitcoms are made of.

Along the way, friendships popped up like daisies — in lecture halls, over coffee machines, amidst grueling gym sessions and amid the throes of romantic entanglements. These bonds were my backup singers, providing a soundtrack of support as I took center stage to craft my life's opus.

But the friendship to end all friendships kicked off in Austin, Texas with Evelyn, a solo parenting champ, while I was playing house with my boyfriend. Our lives were as dissimilar as chalk and cheese, but somehow, we clicked like a pair of old-school roller skates, and we've been rolling together for over 35 years, even swapping maid of honor duties.

Fast forward through life's roller coaster — marriages, divorces, widow club membership, babies, job U-turns, losses and the chaos of child-rearing. Evelyn and I have weathered it all, proving that friendship is less about daily hangouts and more about having a battle buddy for life's wars.

Now, hitting the 60 mark, I'm taking a stroll down memory lane, marveling at our saga and eagerly awaiting the next chapters. “What else will I discover?" I wonder as I hold my breath a tiny bit before I remember my acupuncturist reminding me that deep breaths are better than shallow ones.

Flashback to my 37th birthday: I'm at Evelyn's, toasting her newborn son. We were both in the blissful bubble of marital bliss and parenthood. Life felt like a perfectly baked pie — warm, sweet and satisfying.

Then, BAM! Valentine’s Day turned from love letters to a nightmare. My hubby, Chad, was taken by a hit-and-run crash, transforming me overnight into a widow with a duo of daughters, ages two and four.

Suddenly, I was a solo act without a fan club, realizing my social circle was as thin as bargain-brand toilet paper. With no fellow widows on speed dial, the daunting task of forging a new sisterhood loomed ahead, while the very idea of thriving seemed as likely as me taking up space travel.

Leap forward 11 years, and my quest for connection birthed the Modern Widows Club, a rallying point for the sisterhood of the widowed, not by choice but by circumstance. It's a club where the membership fee is a piece of your heart, navigating widowhood with a flair our foremothers wouldn't recognize.

Imagine, back in the day, finding your widow tribe was as challenging as explaining Facebook to your grandma. Now, it's as easy as a swipe and a tap. Voila — welcome to your new tribe.

Here's the kicker: "Widows know widows." It's like a secret society where the only entry requirement is heartache, and the mission is to guide each other through the storm.

These newfound soul sisters didn't just save my sanity; they revamped my life's quality from 2D to IMAX 3D. They taught me the art of moving forward with purpose while also lending a hand to those a step behind.

Enter "wister-hood" — our coined and trademarked term that marries 'widows' and 'sisterhood,' crafting a bond as unique as unicorn sneakers. Jumping into the wisterhood is like turning a tear-jerker into a blockbuster adventure, where the leading lady goes from "I'm just hanging in there" to "Watch me rock this widow life."

It's for the women who took "till death do us part" seriously, and now they're living proof that vows aren't just for wedding days. This club isn't your average nametag affair; it's a lifeline for those ready to rewrite their story with a little bit of cheek and heaps of heart. Wisters are the promise keepers of the relationship world. "I said I would, and boy, did I ever."

We're introducing a fresh role for the ladies and pioneering the future with a backpack full of wisdom from the school of hard knocks. The only manual? Your goosebumps. That's right, if it gives you the shivers, it's your soul's way of saying, "Let's light this candle!"

So, it turns out what gets your candle flickering isn't just a solo show; it's a full-blown concert tour for the arc of sisterhood. Women's friend groups stick around — till the very end, to be precise!

But as time whizzes by faster than my ability to catch up with the kids' new lingo, I've spotted a trend: the widow tribe is expanding. And really, it's no shocker — 70 percent of married ladies eventually take the solo flight. From the spry age of 40 right through to 85, we see a dramatic leap from a mere 1 percent to a staggering 73 percent of women donning the widow's tiara.

Welcome to the wister-hood, folks, where the membership rates soar as the years go by!

One thing is for sure, ladies know the value of a solid gold friendship — it's the secret ingredient in the recipe for navigating the wild ride of life. So, cheers to women everywhere, holding their best friends closer than their smartphones, because let's face it, who else will help you analyze a text message for two hours, cheer you on at your first open mic night or tell you there's spinach in your teeth with a straight face?

 
Have any of you lost a partner? How are you coping? Let us know in the comments below.

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