A steady stream of silver-haired people make their way into Los Altos Lutheran Church on Tuesday nights, in trios, pairs and solo. Their easy social mien reveals an outcome rather than a starting point – the gathering of 60 or more local residents each week assembles people adjusting through grief and toward a new phase of life.
The Mid-Peninsula Widows and Widowers Association gathers for its formal meetings at the church each week at 7:30 p.m., but its activities stretch across the calendar. The 200 or so members, who range in age from mid-50s to over 100, find the group when they are looking for comfort, and role models for starting over when life and partnership take a change of direction. The only qualification to join is shared experience – anyone who has lost a spouse through death is welcome. The group, founded initially as a self-help support circle at El Camino Hospital in 1976, morphed into something greater as participants found that caring and encouragement grew to include new opportunities for personal growth, friendships and vision for future activity.