Welcome to YoungWidow.org

YoungWidow.org is the original website exclusively dedicated to young widows and widowers. It is sponsored by Young Widow - Chapter Two, a non-profit corporation.

The YWBB is turning ten! Please help us commemorate the occasion!

Did you know that YoungWidow.org is the original website exclusively dedicated to young widows and widowers? And that it has been online for ten years now? It was launched in September 2001 by Lauren Weiss, to create a place for young widows to connect. The website and its Young Widow Bulletin Board (which we fondly refer to as the YWBB and which is found at YWBB.org) are sponsored by Young Widow - Chapter Two, a non-profit corporation. Our mission is to provide a forum for young widows and widowers to connect online. Through these connections, they can find understanding and validation of their feelings so that they are able to recover their joy for life, reclaim their identities, and rebuild their futures. The online community of the YWBB is the lifeline of our organization, a place where the young widowed can realize they are not alone in their journeys and can exchange experiences, information and support. We've hit many milestones over the past ten years. To date, the YWBB has almost 16,000 registered members who have commented on over 104,000 discussion topics. And there are over 1 million posts! And we are very happy for the men and women who met on the YWBB and found new love (including one of our Board Members!), many of whom remarried. And we are most excited about touching and reaching all our members in a way no other person, group or doctor could. The knowledge that none of us are alone makes a giant difference in our grief recovery. If you have benefitted from the YWBB, we ask for you to consider making a small donation to show your appreciation. Our forum has always been free, thanks to donations like yours. We hope to be able to continue to provide this online community to individuals like yourselves, who are looking for comfort and company. Imagine that what you have learned from your tragedy might help someone new to widowhood. Pay it forward with a donation of any size. The YWBB hopes to always provide support and encouragement without a price tag. In fact, our mission is so important to our Board of Directors, we have shared below these personal stories about what the YWBB has meant to us, when we needed it most. And we are still here to share our experiences to benefit our members. If you would like to donate $5 or more to help with the costs of keeping the YWBB online, please click the "Donate" button to make an online donation.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

Sincerely,

The YW-C2 Board of Directors

Dale Huntley, Nicole LaMarca, Teal Thawley, Lauren Weiss, Carol Young

What the YWBB means to the Board of Directors of YWC2

The Board on the Board: In Our Own Words

Carol Young

When I was suddenly widowed at the young age of 42 with 3 small daughters, I was completely and utterly lost! Widows were not supposed to be young like me. I immediately found a support group for young widows which helped me figure out this new life that I didn't sign up for. I realized that I wasn't like everyone else in my community anymore so I needed to be around other young widows and widowers. I was so fortunate to meet up with Lauren who had this fantastic idea to launch a website for young widows/widowers. She was amazing in that she had such a clear vision of what she wanted the YWBB to be. I was good at the social part of it so I had planned a group meeting of our first "members" in New York City. This has now become the Widowbago Weekends. I don't think I can even put into words how much the YWBB helped me through those early, gut-wrenchingly lonely days. I am so proud of what Lauren has accomplished and feel honored to be a part of this incredible community of special, caring individuals.

Lauren Weiss

I felt all alone when my husband died at age 31 and I was left widowed and pregnant. The internet was nascent and real interpersonal support groups were rare for my age group. I founded the website Youngwidow.com and the YWBB on the premise that individuals our age want to connect. If we can't connect in person, we could connect online. This premise led to the website and bulletin boards that now help thousands. Thank you all for joining this community and helping each other as we find our way. The growth of this nonprofit has been amazing. From the first ever Widowbago Weekend in NYC years ago to the weekly meetings of young widows and widowers around the country and online, I am so happy that this website has helped to build a community online and in person. While I had neither online or in person support from other young widows, I hope I filled a void for you in your time of need. Young Widowhood is lonely enough....at least we all have each other. While I created this social network (before I knew what a social network was!) I could not have taken it on the road, supported the growing membership or handled the legal and regulatory obstacles in creating a nonprofit without the help of my talented and wonderful board and friends. Thank you everyone for exceeding my expectations.

Nicole Waters

How crazy is it for me to now say that I was a widow at 29. That seems so long ago, seems like I was such a child. My high school sweetheart, Dave, whom I dated for 10 years and married only 3, died at the age of 29 from a massive heart attack. Crazy. Where do you go for support at 29? It was June 23, 2000 and I was living in New York City. It was prior to 9/11 and there were no young widow support groups in my area. I felt completely alone, lost and isolated. A friend and client of mine happened to know of one other person in New York City who was also a young widow. That person was Lauren. We talked on the phone, met for lunch and it was amazing that there was someone out there who also knew what I was feeling: the heart ache, the loneliness and the questions of what comes next. She spoke about a new venture that she was interested in pursuing that would help women and men like us. She took that ball and ran with it. YWBB was launched as a forum where people could chat openly without judgment. There is nothing more priceless than not feeling alone. I feel proud and honored that Lauren asked me to be a part of it. Eleven years later I am happily married with 3 small children. As a family we continue to honor Dave's life. I couldn't be happier. I have been to hell. Now heaven. It is possible. The YWBB allows people to believe it is possible. You are not alone.

Dale Huntley

The life I had known was forever changed on Good Friday, March 29, 2002, when my late wife Lori was diagnosed with cancer. She died a few months later on August 24th. This sent me on a search to find some kind of support for a young widowed person as there were no such groups in my area. I found the fledgling YWBB by searching on the Internet. We were a small group of less than twenty-five members and the friendships and bonds that developed were huge. The connections forged in those early days fostered the belief that this site was a good thing and it should be continued. The board was very basic then and with a couple of software updates a short lived trial of "Moderation" was attempted. I was honored to be asked to moderate a forum, and then to serve on the Board of Directors. Now more than ever, as I have watched the membership grow from 25 people to over 16,000 people, I believe that this is a valuable resource for young widows and widowers that needs to be supported.

My life was changed again in 2004, this time the change was wonderful, when a fellow member introduced me to another member in a chat one night. In October, Alicia and I will celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary. I thank the YWBB and Johnbee, for making that connection that again changed my life. Healing can be found following the death of a spouse and for me the YWBB played a huge part in finding the life I now lead.

Teal Thawley

On April 10, 2002, my 47 year old husband Bill died suddenly. We had been married 19 years and had an 11 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. In the blink of an eye, I was a 45 year old widow with who didn't know any other young widows. I felt completely and utterly alone and was desperate to talk to someone who would understand. Fortunately for me, in July 2002, a friend saw a magazine article about the website Lauren had started and told me about it. The YWBB soon became my lifeline - here was a place where I could connect with others who were having similar experiences and feelings. When I was on the YWBB, I didn't feel quite so alone. The YWBB has been part of my life for over nine years now. In the beginning, it was the lifeline that helped me through the darkest days, when my grief was raw and the edges of my pain sharp. As time went on, it was instrumental in turning my journey of grief into a journey of grief and healing, there for me as I started seeing glimmers of hope and possibility. As I rebuilt my life, it became a place where I could reach out to others new to the journey to give them hope and encouragement, giving back some of the support and comfort and strength that I had received there. In recent years, having reached the point where I am "beyond active grieving" and have embraced life again, it has been a comfortable place that I can return to when I want to express some of the experiences and thoughts that come with this continuing journey. And always I treasure it as a place where I can check in from time to time with the friends with whom I have forged such strong bonds. I will always be grateful for to Lauren for having started the YWBB and to Carol for nurturing it in those early days - it made a huge difference in the rebuilding of my life after Bill's death. I am convinced that it is an important part of healing to be able to connect with others who understand what you are going through - and because of that I am committed to ensuring the continued existence of the YWBB. In January 2003, just before I traveled to New York to meet Lauren and Carol and other folks I had met on the YWBB for the first time, I wrote this to Lauren: On the Board:

- You can find true understanding and compassion

- You can find the support and encouragement you need to keep going

- You can share your struggles - and your victories

- You can find reassurance that your feelings and experiences are normal and that you don't have to conform to society's expectations about how and how long you should grieve

- You can seek advice about issues you've never had to face before

- You can share thoughts that you can't express to others

- You can reach out for help when you're down - and reach out to help others who need a lift

- You can drop the mask you put on for the rest of the world and let your raw emotions show

- You can find complete acceptance among people who care

- You can find hope and inspiration from those who have traveled farther on the journey than you have

I think that is as true today as it was when I wrote it almost nine years ago - and I hope it will continue to be true for years to come.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide a forum for young widows and widowers to connect online. Through these connections, young widows and widowers find understanding and validation of their feelings so that they are able to recover their joy for life, reclaim their identities and rebuild their futures.

Young Widow Bulletin Board (YWBB)

Visit our internationally recognized bulletin board. Connect with other young widows and widowers and share experiences, feelings, and information to help you get through this emotional time. By connecting with others, you know you are not alone.

The YWBB exists to facilitate interaction among young widows and widowers. It is not an organized support group and has no trained grief or crisis counselors. If you are in need of grief or crisis counseling, you should contact qualified professionals in your area.

What's on YoungWidow.org

This website offers books lists, online resources, information on local support groups, and support for kids and teens.

Please note that these lists, links and information are provided as a convenience and not as an endorsement. Young Widow – Chapter Two is not affiliated with any of the listed groups or linked sites.