Dawn Nargi and Roselyn Drake: Widows Helping Widows

In this episode of The Open to Hope show, Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley talk with Dawn Nargi and Roselyn Drake about The W Connection. This organization began in 2009 “out of necessity,” says Nargi. She shares that in 2007, she and her husband became pregnant—their son was born two months premature. Shortly after bringing their son home, Nargi’s husband finally went to the doctor after experiencing pain throughout the pregnancy. He discovered that he had late stage cancer, and died just two months later. “We were on top of the world, and I became a new mom and widow in 2008.” She found very little support, and realized the need for widows supporting other widows.

She did find a local support group, but it wasn’t geared towards widows beyond the first year of bereavement. This realization gave birth to The W Connection. Drake’s husband died the same year as Nargi’s husband, of a sudden drowning incident. Their young daughter witnessed the death, and it’s still not certain what caused the drowning (although it’s thought that it was a heart attack).

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Although every loss is unique, only widows can truly empathize with what other widows are going through. In 2008, Nargi and Drake didn’t know one another. Another co-founder, Ellen, is who connected Nargi and Drake. The trio dubbed their organization “The W Project,” with the idea that they would select a name later. However, it stuck. At first, everyone wanted to avoid “the W word,” but Nargi maintains that it remains the “best” term to her.

Together, the women began reaching out and finding ways to support new widows. They initially met at a shared grief therapist’s office, and have since been dedicated to spreading the word about their support. “Do what you do well” is the best advice they’ve been given, and they stick to it daily.

Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley

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Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley are a mother/daughter team and internationally recognized grief experts. They are the founders of The Open to Hope Foundation and the hosts of The Open to Hope Show. In addition, Dr. Gloria is a board member for The Compassionate Friends and Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and has a private practice in manhattan. Their message is that others have made it through the grief journey and so can you, if you do not yet have hope lean on theirs.

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