HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - COVID-19 is killing thousands of Americans, and support groups are feeling the impacts.
News 3 met up with a unique group that helps grieving Black women who have lost their partners.
Dr. Sara Williams of Chesapeake said she struggled to find the right support group after her husband passed away from cancer several years ago.
“It was just not fitting, and I tried to attend grief share groups and something was missing. It was very lonely and very isolating,” said Dr. Williams.
Dr. Williams is a licensed therapist in Hampton Roads. She was left to raise her twins, who were nine years old when their father passed away. She said many of the women in the support group she found were much older and that she had trouble relating.
At a low point, she came across Sabra Robinson on Instagram. Robinson is the founder of Black Women Widows Empowered, Empowering Widows Back to Wholeness. The group is based in Charlotte, and its focus is to help Black women who have lost their husbands.
“The organization started with my need to find a group that looked like me as a Black woman widow,” said Robinson.
She said when her husband died, she tried to attend support groups and join online groups but said she felt worse. She said she did not feel empowered and could not relate to the other women.
“Seriously, I didn’t feel comfortable posting the truth about how I felt because I didn’t think I’d be taken seriously,” said Robinson.
She started her own organization that began as a meet-up group and now has followers from around the world.
Robinson said over the past six years, her organization has grown to 710 members.
“There’s a lot of networking; there’s a lot of support. One of the rules in the group is that there’s no lurking; you need to comment or just saying anything, posting something encouraging so they gain that support,” said Robinson.
She said COVID-19 has had a big impact, directly affecting 14 new members.
“We have widows who have not been able to have a memorial service for their loved ones. They’ve had to wait months for basic things that we experienced as widows they don’t have,” said Dr. Williams.
The group provides a place for Black widows to come together and talk about their loss and shared experiences.
“We have unique circumstances. A lot of people might not get it. Being Black, being a woman, we get each other. We get each other because there’s so many complications,” said Robinson.
She said the group provides a place for Black women to relate to each other in dealing with racism, inequalities and struggles associated with losing your spouse.
Click here to learn more about the group.