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Welcome to Merrywidow

My name is Kate Boydell, and I founded in October 2002. The site was originally designed as a standalone survival guide for young widows, but since then has developed into a hugely popular online resource for anyone who has lost a partner.

Merrywidow does not exclude anybody, it is open to all, and the information contained here is essential reading for widows and widowers of all ages, as well as friends and family who would like to know how best to help.

If you need a sympathetic ear, or a way to let off steam, then please visit the Message Board; if you need light relief, then read the Diary; and if you need a concise, practical manual on how to cope with your loss, then read the Guide.

I hope you find what you're looking for, and thank you for visiting.

Latest News

 Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care are running free support groups for people bereaved by suicide in January 2016 in Basildon, Southend, Coventry and Exeter.
The Southend group starts on 9 January, the Coventry group on 16 January, the Exeter group on 18 January and the Basildon group on 19 January.
The groups will be jointly led by experienced Samaritans and Cruse volunteers who have received specialist training to help those bereaved by suicide.
Each group has places for eight people and will run for six weeks. The aim is to provide support for people bereaved by suicide and allow them to meet others who have had similar experiences.
The groups are open to anyone over 18, and each session will run from 7-9.30pm, last for 90 minutes and run once a week for six consecutive weeks.
Anyone interested can register online and they can attend even if they are already receiving other support. Within two working days after they have registered they will get a phone call giving them relevant information about the group.
In June 2014, Facing the Future was given three years of funding by the Department of Health to run groups in pilot areas around the UK.
For more information call 0208 939 9560 or visit
 * You must have been bereaved by suicide for more than three months when the group starts. Earlier than that people may still be experiencing a high level of shock and could find it difficult to share their feelings.
The groups are open to anyone bereaved by suicide no matter how long ago.


The Eleanor Rose Foundation,  is a new initiative, set up in memory of Ellie Jeffery, who died at the age of 29, from secondary breast cancer. Her fiancee, Tom Thostrup, set up the foundation with the intention of establishing a website that will enable  people or businesses to offer their skills, services or products  for free or at a discounted rate to people living with cancer.

Toms says, "I'm hoping that as many people as possible will sign up to our  initiative, which is called Ellie's Friends. We're also planning to  provide information about the existing services put on by various  cancer charities and hope that the site will become a one-stop shop  for people living with cancer to find out what is available to them."








10th Anniversary Message 

Dear All,

I am extremely touched by your messages. This site is a survivor, just like all of you. In the early days it was a simple, standalone guide, but over the years it has blossomed and grown, and I hope that each person who visits in times of need will also blossom and grow. MW is here for all those who need it, but my fervent hope is that you will eventually feel strong enough to go forward into a new life, unsupported, but knowing that the journey thus far, although painful, was a journey of discovery and renewal. I know my views are often contentious, but I feel passionately that everything you need to survive this terrible ordeal already lies within you. My aim is to give hope, and to provide a forum where others can do the same, and that by helping others, members feel that they themselves have the strength to carry on, and have a purpose for doing so. 

The last 10 years have brought some remarkable people into my life, Jenny K, Jane R, Martyn, Highlander, Lynn Sinclair, David Robarts, Tracy Jones, Sarah Snaydon, to name but a few; people who began as broken, hopeless things, and slowly, but surely built new lives and found hope. That I was able to be a part of that rebuilding process is a gift to me, and that I can count them as my friends, even though some of us have never met, is life-affirming and wondrous.

I have read countless stories of hardship and despair, countless declarations that life has ended and all hope is lost, but I have an unshakeable belief that the human spirit is a remarkable thing, and that with a small amount of encouragement, that small spark inside all of us can illuminate the darkness and help us see a way forward. I will never stop trying to give this message to those who need to hear it, and I will continue to run this site for as long as people need it. 

Thank you for your support and for taking the time and trouble to send me messages, 

With love,








WAY UP - Way-Up is a support forum set up specifically for widows and widowers over the age of 50.

For more information visit:  


Memorial Website

A new website has recently been launched which helps people to set up online memorials.

MuchLoved is an organisation established to assist people who have suffered bereavement, particularly the death of a family member or friend.

They provide and maintain individual, unique and sensitive website tributes in order to enable you to commemorate, celebrate or simply remember a person you loved and still love.

They also maintain a Community to provide you with information on sources of bereavement advice and counselling, as well as mutual support.

For more information please click on the button below.

MuchLoved - Your place to remember


Government policy on lone parents and benefits.

The governement announced plans to target lone parents in order to get more people off benefits and into jobs. Single parents can currently receive Income Support without having to seek work until their youngest child is 16.

But Work Secretary John Hutton told BBC Radio 4 he thought it not "unreasonable" to cut that age to 12.

Chris Pond, chief executive of the charity One Parent Families, said 66% of lone parents with a youngest child aged between 11 and 16 were already in work.

As the government's target was 70%, he said, "this isn't going to take you very far".

A quarter of the parents that would be affected were caring for a disabled child, Mr Pond added.




Highly Commended Award - Posted on 5/09/06

I am delighted to announce that 'Death and How to Survive it' has been given a Highly Commended Award by the British Medical Association in their 2006 Book Awards. This was a complete shock to me, as it is not exactly a weighty medical tome, and contains a few words that you won't find in a medical dictionary.

I am grateful to the BMA for honouring me in such a way, and for giving the book a chance to be read by the very people who can make a real difference. I hope that one day, greater understanding and insight will help reduce the tendency to prescribe tranquillizers and anti-depressants to relieve the symptoms of grief, and that the medical profession will recognise that most people are already equipped with everything they need to survive a traumatic loss

MW Discussion Board

Five latest topics rasied from the discussion board

Click the topics to read more or view the discussion board and start your own topic.

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