A little over five years ago, shortly after the death of my husband, I attended an eight-week bereavement workshop. The leader of that workshop told us that Dan Bagby was giving a three-part program on the same topic at RRCB, and Carolyn Camden and I decided to attend. After the final session, at RRCB, there was discussion of the possibility of an ongoing group for women who had similar situations in their life. We all felt that talking to and relating to other women had helped us get through some of the toughest times in our lives. Liz Seward was at the meeting and Dan asked her to think about forming such a group. We had a preliminary meeting and decided not to limit the members to widows only, but to include women who, for whatever reason, were alone again, alone, or caregivers.

Liz took the ball and ran with it, and ever since the group has met for brunch, lunch, or dinner monthly— trying new restaurants as well as old establishments on both sides of the river. Additionally, we’ve enjoyed trips out of town to visit the Southern Living Idea Home near Charlottesville and a wonderful French lunch in Gordonsville. We have gone to holiday tea at the Jefferson, as well as enjoying a number of exhibits and lunch at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Just recently Jean Ellis has agreed to relieve Liz and act as chair of the group.

For me personally, FLO has been a wonderful experience. I was new to RRCB and didn’t know many women. Now I feel I have a host of friends who have given me strength, humor and love. Anyone in such a situation is welcome to attend. We would welcome you.

Written by Glenda Palmer

Originally published in the 2017 Fall Quarterly Explorer