Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Valentine & Wine Recap

By Matt Croke

CYWC held its first event on February 11th at WineStyles in Park Ridge.   About 20 people attended in what turned out to be a very nice evening.  WineStyles is a store front that can be described as a long - over-wide - hallway, with tables that run down the middle filled with wine and accessories.  Each wall of the store also has racks chock-full of an abundance of wines for purchase.  It was a cozy environment for mingling and bumping into people which started several conversations. 

I met several widows who I didn’t know before and one of the conversations went like this:

“I just moved to Niles.”

“I live in Niles.” I said.

“Oh wow, I took a job over at St. John Brebeuf.”

“My kids go to St. John Brebeuf.”

Not only did our small world stories get even smaller with people we both ended up knowing, but I have since seen her twice at the school.  This was a person I never knew before who worked where my kids go to school, and now I am happy to say I have a new friend.  It was that kind of night.

One of the widows brought a friend and they both happen to be social workers.  This led to a great conversation about the dynamic of groups and group leaders. 

It was a night filled with, “I wasn’t sure I was going to come, but I’m glad I did.”  I know for myself, it was great to meet new people and have an instant connection.  It may have been the first time I was able to attend a social event since Lisa passed and feel comfortable enough to walk up to someone and say, “Hi, my wife died of breast cancer.”  While I didn’t do that, it was good to know I could if I wanted to without facing horrific reactions.

Matt, an outside vendor, did an excellent job pouring the wine and keeping the party hydrated. Bottles were purchased to take home and at the two hour mark – the perfect amount of time for a first night out – we all hugged our goodbyes and the talk turned to when we would be meeting again.

Thank you to those who attended.  For those of you who were not able to make it, I urge you to try and make the next one.  Having experienced one CYWC event, I would say it was about as safe of a night for emotional people as you could ask for. 

Thank you to Wendy, Laura and Susan for all the hard work.  I look forward to the next event!