Group offers support, activities for those who have lost a spouse

EDMONDS — They’re ready to live it up after a loss.

Edmonds Lutheran Church has a new group for anyone who has faced the death of a spouse.

It’s not a grief support group. It’s for people to get together and have a good time, said Wayne Olson, 80.

His wife, Lois, died in 2011 after 54 years of marriage.

“It’s difficult because it’s hard to do things by yourself,” said Olson, of Edmonds.

He isn’t the only one. Many others in the congregation also are alone after decades of marriage.

Alice Smith, 76, lost her husband, Bill, in 2010. They were married 44 years.

She became friends with Olson after they joined Edmonds Lutheran on the same day in 2011. Now they both volunteer at the church.

Smith, of Seattle, helps with the community dinner on Wednesday evenings. Olson, who volunteers in the church office, enjoys the hot meal.

“See I don’t like to cook so Wednesday works for me,” he said.

The church already has lots of activities going on inside its walls. The new group is aimed at getting people together to go out.

More than 20 people showed up at its first meeting earlier this month.

“There was a lot of mention of loneliness, wanting to have people to talk with, the potential for new friends, people to do things with and being able to be with others who know this situation,” the Rev. Julie Josund wrote in an email. “There was a lot of laughter, some tears.”

The group of mostly those age 70 and older talked about keeping activities affordable for fixed incomes.

“We’re not youngsters but nobody’s incapacitated either,” Olson said.

They decided to go on tours, take classes, play cards and arrange activities for future meet-ups.

“These are people who are ready to move on,” Smith said. “But if they’re having a bad day, they can get a hug and be understood.”

The group has scheduled its next meeting at 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at the church, 23525 84th Ave. W. For more information, call 425-744-8090.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @AmyNileReports.

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