Michele Neff: Supporting Millions of Widowed People

Michele Neff Hernandez

Widowhood for men and women is a dimension of finality. These days, there are many more widows and widowers due to a deadly pandemic, Covid, than ever before.

Sadly, these are individuals for whom finality came at much younger ages. Nevertheless, coping with grief and dealing with feelings of loss, life upheaval, and abandonment becomes a challenge Michele Neff realized could be shared.

Life Lived Together

When Michele Neff suddenly became a widow, she threw her coping skills into disarray. Common life issues she shared with a spouse became monumental challenges. Perhaps the most unexpected challenge was that she bore the burden of sole responsibility formerly shared as a widow.

Sharing Widowhood

Michele Neff soon realized a more constructive way of working through personal grief. Sharing with others had always been her way of finding a sense of lifting her spirits and reaching a level of personal accomplishment.

Michele Neff realized grief could become all-consuming and destructive to her typically exuberant, innovative, and energetic nature. She decided that because the number of widows had grown due to Covid, she sensed many grieved in the same way.

Michele Neff Hernandez

Soaring Spirits and Shared Life Experience

Michele Neff had a personal support system as many widowed individuals do who were well-meaning typically but simply didn’t understand the realities of such finality and loss. She soon came to the realization that others like her had distinctly different life challenges and responsibilities that warranted some semblance of unity.

The more she spoke with other widowed individuals, the more she saw the need to organize them to form a widowed people support group. That was how the non-profit organization, Soaring Spirits, was formed.

It began with her first program in 2008, Camp Widow, offered to widowed people all over the U.S. in annual three-day support events.

Reaching Out and Reaching Up

Michele Neff sought to bring a sense of normalcy amid personal tragedy and grief to work through painful life experiences to others. Camp Widow grew to 70 chapters in the U.S.

Today Soaring Spirit, a worldwide, widowed people support, is available across all spectrums of life in a 24-week program that allows for more incredible opportunities to share understanding unique issues and help lift the spirits of those newly widowed.

Michele Neff has expanded her own horizons from out of the depths of grief to become a beacon of caring and inspiration for widowed people’s support. For more details, visit https://soaringspirits.org/. 

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