Twice, every year for the last 16 years, various WSD (Widowed, Separated and Divorced) Kāpiti Group volunteers have heeded the call to come together for 10 weeks at a time as either group facilitators or guest speakers to support the recently widowed, separated, or divorced members of the Kāpiti community.
A WSD Kāpiti Course helps those who have been living with the loss of a partner, wife, or husband. It may be through separation due to illness that sees one partner going into a care facility, or by way of heading towards a divorce. Those who experience loss through death are also helped through our support groups.
Our volunteers give of their time, experiences, love, kind-heartedness, and empathy to help those joining our groups, and who are experiencing traumatic grief. Those members of our community that have had their lives changed irrevocably, sometimes within a short period of time before joining our programmes. Who are these people that they want to join a support group? They are every one of us when we experience the loss of a loved one. They might be looking for answers, company, a kindred spirit, and we often hear the echo of ‘me too’ as they talk openly within their smaller groups with their facilitators about the emotions and roller coaster of feelings that are now their constant companions.
It is our volunteers that make a weekly phone call to help our course attendees deal with their raw emotions, loneliness, and this strange new world that they find themselves now living in, every day of their lives.
The success of our support group is our volunteers who help the coordinator to run the 10-week courses. We are all past course attendees ourselves, who have been widowed, separated, or divorced. We too have attended many nightly sessions, volunteered to speak to new groups on specific weekly topics as guest speakers, in an effort to share our stories, pain and experiences so that we may help to equip the grief toolkits we know every new solo group attendee will benefit from, perhaps not immediately but at some stage of their journey.
As volunteers, we understand and know within our own hearts that every facet of life has now changed for our newcomers. They are not only working through the loss of their partners but some also experience the loss of their everyday comforts, jobs, homes, financial stability, contact with their children, extended families, friends, clubs, and groups. They find comfort, acceptance, friendship, camaraderie, social interaction, and self-esteem with our volunteers as they work towards healing.
We are the people that work in your community to help those that are hiding their grief behind the veil of coping well. We volunteer so others do not experience the same instances that we did, to the level of making less than healthy choices, we are ones that will help when everyone else thinks you should be over it!
We are the WSD Kāpiti Volunteers. We will be here for you too, should you need us.
Nominated by Angie Barrett, Coordinator of WSD Volunteers for the Volunteer Kāpiti volunteer team story competition as part of National Volunteer Week