Laury Beesley never imagined a personal calling would come out of grief. After all, no one likes to think of life without the ones they love.
But when Beesley was faced with the death of her husband, Jeff Beesley, to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma four years ago after a two and a half year long battle with the disease, she realized there weren't many local programs out there equipped to help families who were grieving a loss.
I "know how difficult the challenge of being a widow in your mid-40s can be" Beesley told Roswell Patch. "I found little help and felt someday I [would] help others get through this challenge with more support [than I had]."
Even the Rainbows program for children, where Beesley volunteered, only brought out families struggling through the process of divorce.
"Families dealing with death just don't seem to reach out and receive the help they need," she said.
It only confirmed Beesley's belief that she should start a program whose sole purpose would be to help widows and families. That initial idea sparked the start up of Widows GPS. The group's mission aims to "guide, empower and support widows outside the boundaries of grief," according to Beesley.
"Grief is a very personal and cumbersome emotion, [but] there are groups available for grief support, Widows GPS wants to help...with the real life challenges and decisions of widowhood," she said.
The group plans to hold regular meetings and workshops, as well as provide a mentorship environment for families who've lost a love one.
"Our hope is to give comfort and education to widows and show them they are not alone," Beesley said.
The first north metro chapter of Widows GPS - which stands for "guide, power, support" - is up and running in Roswell.
"It's just the beginning, we hope for much more ahead," said Beesley.
The next Widows GPS event is 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 at Sophia’s Restaurant and Tapas. Reservations are requested. To contact Beesley or find out more about Widows GPS, call 678-951-5252 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.