Bereaved Spouses/Partners, The Road Less Traveled

Three-day Conference for Widows and Widowers

by Jim Schwartz, CFP
President, WCESS

Arizona-based nonprofit Widowed Community Education & Support Services, Inc (WCESS) is organizing its 2nd annual three-day conference, October 26-28, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona for anyone whose spouse or partner has died.

Imagine your spouse or partner losing their life in an auto accident or to a long-term illness such as cancer. Imagine, as the sole parent, trying to raise your grieving child while trying to make sense of the family finances and legal issues, paying bills, and trying to survive an emotional roller coaster. Imagine trying to pick up all the responsibilities of your deceased spouse in addition to your own while grieving the loss of the person you love. This is the world many widows and widowers survive in for long, almost unbearable, stretches of time.

Our conference, Tools for the “New Normal” Journey, will be held on the main campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The conference is designed for any widow or widower looking for tools, solutions, and answers to the countless challenges and unanswered questions they face. WCESS is bringing together more than 25 professional speakers on topics including grief coping strategies, financial issues, parenting a grieving child, the basics of health insurance, dating, grief and spirituality, tax and legal issues, art therapy, and many more. In addition to the presentations and workshops, we will also hold up to five focus support groups dealing with a variety of topics including anger, guilt, regret, dating, feeling “stuck”, coming home to an empty house, and dealing with family and friends who are DGI’s (people who Don’t Get It).

Here are just a few attendee comments from last year’s conference:

“I can’t thank you enough for the conference. It has helped me so much. I have a new sense of perspective about my circumstances.”

“Outstanding, emotionally draining weekend”

“What a great conference we had this year…you have changed many lives”

“The whole experience was just wonderful. Very healing. Very helpful.”

Pricing through August 30th is $295 for all three days or $225 for two days, Saturday and Sunday, lunch included. Conference details, speaker information, and registration are available at WCESS. Please direct any questions to Jim Schwartz at 480.209.0564.

About the Author: Jim Schwartz is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and financial advisor who realized that nearly half his clients were widowed and few had spoken of attending grief support groups or working with professional bereavement counselors. When trying to find local resources for his clients who recently lost a spouse or partner, Jim realized there might be a need for local peer-to-peer grief support groups and a multi-day conference.

Widowed Community Education & Support Services, Inc. (WCESS), founded by Jim Schwartz, is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Arizona. In late 2010, Jim started the first widowed-to-widowed grief support group in Tempe, Arizona. A second group was started this year in Scottsdale with plans to start additional peer-to-peer grief support groups throughout the Phoenix metro area. These support groups are organized through Meetup. If you are in the Phoenix area you can find Jim’s groups on Meetup by searching for “widowed”.

Jim’s second initiative is the annual weekend conference which is highlighted in this newsletter. You may contact Jim for additional information about his support groups or the conference through his email.