This week I closed another chapter in my widow’s journey.  I have been the lead peer support of a monthly widow’s group that met at a funeral home. The group of women  meets for an hour or so to share stories, to cry together and obtain support.  The beauty of the group is everyone is a widow and knows exactly what each woman has experienced with the loss of their spouse.  And everyone is in a different stage of grief,

While I didn’t plan on volunteering to lead the group, someone referred me to the community director of outreach services, who asked me if I’d consider.  Heaven knows I didn’t think I was ready to take on a monthly group or even having the capacity to support other women’s grief journey.  But more than 5 years ago I said “yes” and shifted my schedule every month to make the time to gather with these precious women.

The catalyst for me was I didn’t want another woman to have to travel this journey alone without support.  I didn’t want a woman in the midst of despair to think life was going to always feel so bad or be at the bottom of the great big ocean of grief.  I wanted them to have a platform to “just be”- no pressure from anyone to talk or share, just be in a safe place with others who understood.

I faithfully served and along the way met some marvelous, inspiring women who I watched move from a desperate situation to hope.  From the brink of feeling like life would never be better without their loved one, to knowing they shall live again.  It was often tough work, full of shared tears and pains but I preserved.  And I too gained hope and my way. Now after 5 years, I decided to turn the page and move into another chapter of working with widows.  Some women questioned why I decided to step down from leading the group.  Reluctantly, I shared it was a combination of several events in my life that culminated to this decision.

After starting a new part-time job at a local nonprofit last year, I recently was promoted which has given me more responsibilities.  More work equals less personal time.  Volunteering in the middle of the day was becoming more and more challenging to schedule into my week, even at once a month.  Secondly, I will be a widow for 9 years in May and my life has changed for the better.  Most of the women in the group were newly widowed (less than 2 years) and I often struggled to remember my past experiences when I was a new widow.  I’m at a different place in my widow journey and glad those initial grief experiences are behind me.  I survived those deep, dark, dreadful four years of learning to adjust my life to being a widow.  I don’t want to go back to those days again!

While I still struggle with loneliness and still miss the experiences my husband and I shared, I’m in a better place in my grief.

New Chapter

I will soon be working with women in low-income communities who don’t have the luxury to stop life and attend a mid-day grief group.  Women who barely had time to pause to grieve, as they are the sole provider of a family that clings to every morsel of bread and every spent dollar for survival.  Their economic situation doesn’t make them grieve any less, its just not as identified or given the space to show its ugly head.   Often these women have witnessed their own children experience violent deaths, which only added to their suspended widow’s grieving process.  It’s horrific, it’s taxing and it consumes urban neighbors across the country.

My new work will also connect me with houses of faith.  Many churches don’t have the staff to reach out to the many women who become widows.  Some churches may point people to their website which may or may not have grief resources.  Mostly church members distribute an out- dated brochure with national grief resources, not aware of any local grief support groups to steer woman and families.   I plan to offer workshops and link women to wonderful resources (including Hope for Widows Foundation) in which to develop a larger community of support.  We  must stick together and continue to have a voice for the widows/widowers and even children left without parents.  It’s not convenient work, but it’s so needed.

Extending a heart and hand

People need help.  People need to know others care.  People need to be heard when they cry out for a loving, compassionate voice.  So, I am continuing my work through another venue and with a different population.  While sad, I have so many wonderful memories of great, resilient women who I have grown to admire.  My work is far from finished, but I’m at a better place emotionally, physically, and even financially to lend my voice to the grief movement.

Please keep me lifted up in your prayers that I will be led to the appropriate communities and women.  Together, we can and will make a difference!

1 Corinthians 15:38 “Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”.


Save the dates! Join us for the 2024 Widows of Hope 5K, taking place May 10-12! This annual initiative encourages activity while raising awareness for the 245 million widowed women worldwide and honoring loved ones.  Additionally, May 3rd, National Widows Day, when we’ll reopen applications for our Restoring Hope and Peace Grant.
Learn more here: and continue to lookout on all our social media platforms for updates.


Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.