Hope for Widows is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We are guided by  the board of directors who create initiatives and make decisions for the good of our community. We also are guided by the many woman who are actively involved, sharing their story, thoughts, ideas and messages with our community. Message us if you are interested in getting involved.

Kimberly Nicole Johnson

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Kimberly Johnson is a GOD fearing author, woman, widow, wife, mom, nana, daughter, sister, friend, entrepreneur and breast cancer survivor.
Kimberly helped build her business and brand side by side with her husband. They were the first Black owned /operated husband & wife team with a business in Cincinnati, Ohio called OTR (Over The Rhine) also known as Incredible Creations Beauty & Barber Salon. Their Brand is very well known to the masses. Kimberly & Devan were more than regular salon owners; Kimberly is a platform artist, educator, and a mentor. Kim fought and won the fight over Breast Cancer in 2014 with her husband Devan. The love of her life was by her side every step of the way never leaving her to do it alone. Then to turn around and lose him suddenly & unexpectedly in 2016. She thought her hardest battle was in 2014 but when she lost her husband she realized that now was a crossroad for her. Kimberly has decided to rise from the storm and walk authentically & truthfully in her purpose! GOD showed her how to “Unleash the Power of Greatness’ within. Kimberly has been thrust into her purpose of being an Author, releasing her first book ‘Walking without my Cane.’ Also, as a motivational speaker she is going to share, motivate & inspire others that a happy, fulfilling life is possible after facing such heartaches. She shares life can and will go on and it will be amazing despite what the past looks like. She will show others that your past doesn’t have to dictate how your future looks. She will show others how to be authentic, walk in their truth, live in the moment & just be. You can also find her on Instagram sharing her journey at @icdiamonds

Maeghan Garcia

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Maeghan Garcia started writing about her journey through grief in 2015, after the sudden and tragic loss of her late husband to brain cancer. She was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time. She currently reaches others who are grieving or seeking inspiration through her blog at Along The Broken Road and other social media accounts. She aspires to write a book about her grief journey soon.

Zahra Khakoo

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I am a widow, mom and an avid activist of living your life to the fullest. I live my life as though everyday could be my last day. So I ensure each day is memorable and full of good. I have a 7 year old daughter who keeps me busy with hockey and other activities. I work full time and have a very full social calendar. I believe that grief comes in 3 stages. The beginning, the middle and the rest of your life. You can also read more about her journey on her personal blog at Not your Average Widow

Emily Agruss

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On September 9, 2016 Emily lost the most precious gift she has ever received, her husband. She was 29 years old. Since then, she has been working through her grief by learning about herself and using her writing as a platform to bring awareness to the struggles of widowhood as well as what life was like living with substance abuse and PTSD. You can find her public Facebook page under ‘Ready, Set, Grieve…’

Kerry Phillips

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Kerry Phillips’ world was forever changed in March 2012 when just one week after her first wedding anniversary she got the call that no one wants to hear: your husband has died. Determined to not allow grief to drag her under, Kerry chose to become an advocate for the widowed community, sharing her own journey and those of other young widows. She also realized there was a void for widows and widowers wanting to venture back into the world of dating and started Young, Widowed & Dating. The online support group provides a forum for those seeking a Chapter 2 love story to share their dating adventures and insights into life after loss. Her weekly blog covers topics ranging from relationships with in-laws to dating while raising children and everything in between. When she’s not blogging, Kerry is busy raising a feisty preschooler and power-walking her way through local 5K races.

Julia Steier

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Julia lost her husband in 2013 to a rare liver cancer when she was 28 years old. In the months and years afterwards, Julia continues to use her grief into a positive lifestyle change. She has been involved in NCAA Athletics for 14 years, and has continued to document her fitness, athletic and grief journey in her heartbreaking and honest blog The Unwanted W. Julia’s journey has been featured in US Lacrosse Magazine, SoulCycle, and The Guardian. She currently writes for an online fitness and nutrition journal and works as a professional fitness instructor in Montgomery, AL.  You can also follow her journey and visit her website Lacrosse Widow or visit her Instagram for health tips and inspiration at  @uglygirl.fitness

Lindsey Wilbur

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Who am I?
I am a mother, a friend, a daughter and most recently, a widow.
On August 12, 2016 my husband died and I went with him. I have been spending my days since trying to rediscover who I am. Slowly and painfully, the real Lindsey began to emerge from the rubble. I was unsure of my purpose but diligently pushed through and fought for something that offered a glimmer of hope. Through many long days of uncertainty and pain I finally realized that I am bigger than my tragedy, that grief has many faces, it’s not just tears.There is more, so much more and I intend on embracing every bit. I am here. I am hope. I am love. She also writes and shares her heart on her personal blog called Grief Deposit.  You can also find her on Instagram sharing her journey at @beatrixsgarden 

Cheryl Barnes

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Cheryl Barnes was born in Atlanta, Georgia and after several moves with her family, settled in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She attended college at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in Public and Environmental Affairs Management. While she attended college, she laid eyes on Martin “Tony” Barnes and was completely lost. They became inseparable and were married on December 24th, 1991.  After five years of marriage, their first son, Malcolm, was born on New Year’s Eve, 1991. After Tony obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work, the family moved to Orlando, Florida. Tony worked as a counselor, while Cheryl got her dream job working at Walt Disney World. Two years later, their second son, Miles, was born in July 2004. Cheryl left Disney and took a job in accounting at a property management company. Everything seemed to be going well for the family and Cheryl made plans to attend nursing school. However, in July 2011, Tony was diagnosed with end stage renal failure caused by lupus. For the next three years, Cheryl cared for her husband while taking care of the boys and working. Tony’s health deteriorated as a result of several complications until he passed away on August 29, 2014. Thus began her new journey as a widow and single parent.
Cheryl was devastated at the loss of her beloved Tony, but continued to work and care for their sons as she had before.  As a way to work through her grief, she started writing, at first, only for herself.  But, being encouraged by others, she began publishing her blog, “Widowness and Light.”  Along with writing and being involved with several widows groups on Facebook while raising her boys, she works as a training bookkeeper at an association management company. She plans to go back to school and obtain a Master’s in Social Work so that she can help other widowed persons cope with their losses. She also plans to write a book on her grief journey.
Her hobbies are reading, attending Orlando Magic games, yoga, going to the beach, and just chilling with her boys.

Jessica Trobaugh

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op·ti·mis·tic

Hopeful and confident about the future.

synonyms:Trusting, hopeful, confident, positive, spirited, sanguine, bright, upbeat, full of hope.

On October 11th 2016 at 2 am I became a widow. I was 28. Married for one year but together for almost four, we had two amazing children (5 months & 2 at the time). We had built a life together in the time we had, overcoming numerous obstacles and walking away victorious as long as we stuck together. When he died so did the Jess that was his. In November of 2016 I began writing. This is something I had NEVER done or thought of before. For me the exploration of language is incredibly therapeutic. Writing strictly stream of thought, I have found a citadel in the storm expressing my truth and sharing with fellow widows/widowers who understand the waves completely. I have become stronger, braver, and realer than I ever knew I wasn’t. Continuing on this path I am forever optimistic even as I sob in bed at night. I just know there is a reason. I have to believe there is or this pain would be far too much. I am an open book at this point and grateful for the courage to continue. I want to bring light to the stigma of widowhood and the ignorance of the true daily struggle. I feel blessed to be able to share my story with you and hope that together we can find a deepening rejuvenation in the dark. You can follow more of Jessica’s journey on her personal blog at  The Optimistic Widow.

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