Finding friendship and support with the Oddfellows
Finding the courage to begin socialising again after losing a partner can feel almost impossible. But when the time’s right, it’s an important step towards finding a ‘new normal’.
And it’s no easy step to take, as Joy Warren discovered when her husband, Graham, passed away five years ago after 50 years of marriage.
“Despite the fact I was still grieving, I knew I had to get out and socialise again,” explains Joy, 75. “It was weeks before I felt comfortable, but I know for many others it can take months, or even years.”
Her neighbours Janet and Michael were there for Joy every step of the way. “They made sure I was never alone for too long. I joined them at all sorts of Oddfellows events, from visiting the local dogs’ home to having a catch up at the monthly coffee morning. I signed up to the Oddfellows as a result of the wonderful new friends I made there, and I’m also involved with the organisational side of things, which I really enjoy.”
Joy found that after losing her husband, she was alone in making decisions about her home and finances.
“I’m of a generation where Graham used to take care of all that. The Oddfellows was a huge help as they have a Citizen’s Advice Line which got me through some complicated times.”
The Oddfellows offers friendship and support and is one of the UK’s largest friendly societies, with 310,000 members across its 124 Branches. Membership starts from £25 per year, and it’s run by members, for members..
Joy added: “My advice to anybody in this situation is to get out there and don’t worry about going to events alone. People are always very friendly, you can always ring ahead so there is somebody to meet you who understands.”