Something was wrong.  Men who followed the Facebook page, “Widowers Support Network,” just weren’t actively using it as a grief recovery tool. Then, in March of 2018, it hit me. Widowed men who sought out the services of my ministry, the Widowers Support Network wanted to express themselves and the grief they were confronted with following the death of their spouse or life partner, they just didn’t want to do it in front of (or online with) women.  Dah!  Makes sense to me.  After all, few men enroll in grief groups and those who do rarely complete the entire program.  Why?  I suspect they don’t want to expose their softer side, their tears, their emotions or their vulnerability in front of women who expect them to be strong.  As one man described it, “It’s not manly.”

Hey… don’t look at me.  I didn’t create the environment where we tell little boys as early as when they can first walk that “boys don’t cry.”  You won’t find me telling a man who has experienced a significant loss to “get over it!” or “it’s been six weeks, you need to get back in the game.”  Our society created this mess all by itself.  From our governments at the federal, state and local level, to our industries which quickly banish grieving employees off to some frequently lame EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for three one hour sessions with a counselor, and then claim they are doing all they can to comfort and assist their grieving employee.  Really?

Why else do you think our soldiers come back from wars and don’t even speak about the horrors they witnessed? Is it any wonder research found the suicide rate among widowers to be 3-4x higher than that of married men?  Want more proof? All you have to do is look at how many books have been released in recent years by America’s publishing industry for women compared to those published for men, and you’ll understand what I am saying.  In fact, when I was shopping around the manuscript for my book, The Widowers Journey, more than one publisher told me how “men don’t buy books.” One even said we won’t publish a book for widowers, but we are releasing another book for widows this year.  I replied, “Men sure can’t buy what’s not on the shelf.”

Introducing: “Widowers Support Network – Members Only” on Facebook

To address this need, the Widowers Support Network introduced “Widowers Support Network – Members Only” (WSN-MO) on Facebook.  WSN-MO is a private, secure and confidential Facebook page exclusively available to men.  Those who are admitted must be either a widower, a man who is currently serving as a caregiver for a seriously ill spouse or life-partner or simply a good-hearted man who wants to help WSN-MO’s members during their grief journey.  All services are free, and the membership roster and mailing list will never be sold or published.

Today, men from sixteen countries from as far away as Australia to Turkey, South Africa to England and across North America enjoy the fellowship afforded them by WSN-MOs band of brothers.  This dynamic grief recovery tool (men only sandbox) has long been needed by grieving men everywhere as expressed by its members.

At WSN-MO, any topic is approachable by members.  From sports to gardening, grief to personal finance, health to one’s religious beliefs, relationships to sex… members are free to ask questions of one another without being shunned or embarrassed for doing so. Members also enjoy exclusive content written or presented by experts in the fields of grief, finance, relationships, psychology, religion and more.

Know a man in need of a sandbox where he can freely express his concerns and receive support from kindred spirits from around the globe, suggest they join us on Facebook at: “Widowers Support Network – Members Only.”

Herb Knoll

Herb Knoll lost his wife, Michelle to pancreatic cancer on March 7, 2008. Knoll is a retired bank executive, marketer, and professional speaker turned widower advocate. He founded the Michelle’s Angels Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, whose mission it is to “provide love, hope, compassion, and comforting music to those who quietly suffer” ( Knoll also founded the Widowers Support Network in 2014 so he could better serve, comfort, and assist widowers and those who love them. Knoll has previously served as a weekly columnist for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, a contributing writer for Sales & Marketing Management and Marketing Times magazines, and as an on-air talent for television commercials. As the former director of public and media relations for KeyBank (NY) and later as president of Marketplace Bank (FL), Knoll frequently appeared as his bank’s spokesperson on radio and television. PBS affiliate WNED produced and aired the three-part series Today’s Executive, featuring Herb’s business insights, which were featured in his 1985 book, The Total Executive. Among his many credits, Knoll was inducted into the Buffalo/Niagara Sales & Marketing Executive’s Hall of Fame, served as the Executive Director of the 10,000+ member Sales & Marketing Executives International and was a charter member of the board of directors for Nap Ford Community School in Orlando. A former U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant (E-7), Knoll is a proud member of the Knights of Columbus. Knoll lives in Lake Mary, Florida, with his wife, Maria.

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