Lost & Alone: Widowed Parents Share Firsthand Experiences & Perspectives
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October 12, 2021 | 2:00 p.m. Eastern | 11:30 a.m. Pacific (1.5 hours)
Join us for an intimate conversation with four widowed parents about their journeys and experiences raising their kids after their spouses died.
Two moms and two dads will share with us: what the early period of widowed parenting was like for them; what have been their biggest sources of support; their families’ experiences with grief support programs or professionals; their biggest challenges; what they wished they’d known ahead of time; and barriers they’ve faced in accessing grief support.
This discussion is open to all. NAGC Members are welcome to extend this invitation to their volunteers and program participants.
About the Panelist
Pamela Addison is the widow of Martin Addison, a brave healthcare worker who lost his life to Covid in late April of 2020. At the time of his death her son Graeme was only 5 months and daughter Elsie had just turned 2. Martin was only 44 years old and was a passionate and dedicated speech pathologist at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. Several Months after losing Martin she founded the Young Widows and Widowers of Covid-19 Facebook group and became a Covid loss advocate. Her advocacy work focuses on raising awareness on how many young children have lost a parent or caregiver to Covid and the devastating impact COVID has had on so many young families. Pamela is a reading teacher and enjoys writing.
Gary Ireland is the husband of Nancy, who passed on in May 2019. Nancy started in finance and found her calling teaching early education, as a college professor, and in being a mother of 22-year-old Bryan and 20-year-old Sydney. The Ireland family has been active in scouting, with Bryan starting and Sydney following him into the Cubs Scouts (unofficially). As a family project, the Irelands successfully advocated for eight years to open membership to girls in the previously all male, Boy Scouts, resulting in Sydney following her big brother in earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout, and even being invited and attending the State of the Union. As a result of their efforts, the Boy Scouts changed its name to the more gender neutral, Scouts BSA. Gary is a business and employment attorney helping employees in legal matters, both when joining a company, during separating, and when starting businesses. Gary is also a relentless advocate for inclusion and non-discrimination and earned the Champion for Progress award by the National Organization of Women, the Footprints in the Sand Award at the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, as well as the legal prize from the Congresswoman Bella Abzug Leadership Institute. A graduate of Columbia University and proud New Yorker, Gary also serves as a board member of the interdenominational Avenue Church in Manhattan, host of the homeless outreach program, Urban Outreach Center. He is also an Arts Advisor for the Arts Oasis, and a Member-Ambassador for Gilda’s Club cancer support. Gary is a life-long learner and recently completed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Nancy is still the soul of the Ireland family.
Dennis Murphy is father of 3 children, ages 21, 18, 16 living in Des Moines, IA, who was married for 21 years before losing his wife in 2018 to Colon Cancer. His wife was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in early 2016 and received most of her care at Mayo Clinic in Rochester before passing away while participating in a Clinical Trial in Denver Colorado. His grief journey has included counseling, giving talks to local church and community groups on cancer awareness and his own grief journey, 1x1 discussions with men who have experienced loss, recently starting a men’s grief group that specifically targets men who have experienced loss of a spouse with children under the age of 21. He was inspired to start this group after reading a book a family member gifted him called, “The Group” by Donald Rosenstein and Justin Yopp, discovering there were not targeted grief groups for men with kids. This group now regularly meets at various locations in the Des Moines, IA area. Dennis has also assisted other men to set up similar groups across the nation. Professionally, Dennis served in the Army for 21 years as a military officer, retiring in2017 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He currently works as a Senior IT Project Manager for Life Care Services, a retirement community living company based in Des Moines, IA
Leslie Gray Streeter is an author, veteran journalist and speaker. whose memoir “Black Widow,” was published in March 2020 by Little, Brown and Company. Until recently, she was the longtime entertainment and lifestyle columnist and writer for the Palm Beach Post. A native of Baltimore, Md and a University of Maryland graduate, she and her work have been featured in The Miami Herald, the Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlantic, the Today show, SiriusXM, O, The Oprah Magazine and more. She lives with her son Brooks and her mother Tina in her hometown of Baltimore, which she moved back to last summer. She’s a slow runner, an amateur vegan cook and a true crime and “Law and Order” enthusiast.
Jenny Lisk is a bestselling author and widowed mom who is dedicated to helping widowed parents increase their family's well-being. In her book, Future Widow, Jenny draws on her personal and professional experience to provide a real-life guide for surviving and thriving while raising grieving children. Her show, The Widowed Parent Podcast, draws on over 100 interviews with experts, seasoned widowed parents, and people who lost a parent at a young age. It brings much-needed resources to widowed parents, helping them feel less lost and alone. Jenny’s work has been featured in the Washington Post and ParentMap. She lives in Redmond, Washington, with her two teenagers.