CHESTERVILLE – For the past 26 years, it’s been a monthly ritual for Mary Luykx to organize activities for the area’s Widowed Support Group.

For Luykx, as it likely is for anyone, becoming a widow was a crushing display of reality taking hold.

Pictured during the Widowed Support Group’s September meeting at the Chesterville waterfront are Alice Rutley (front, left), Sharyn Manley, Jane Brugmans, Wihelmien Buiting, and Betty Sullivan. Back row: Alida Scheepers (left), Pat Sullivan, Mary Luykx, and Muriel Merkley. Press Photo – Uhrig

“I was a widow for eight years [before I sought any help]… I had six adopted children and a dairy farm,” she said.

A bout of depression, linked to her last child leaving home, led Luykx to seeking support from a priest in Ottawa. The cleric thought she could use someone to talk to, and suggested she begin attending a support group for widowers.

In the city at the time, there were four different groups. Luykx attended each, and kept up with one for a year before the drive from her Chesterville-area home became too much for her.

Instead, she was encouraged by the same priest to launch her own group in the area, given that it was highly unlikely Luykx was the only person who needed a shoulder to lean on.   

The group’s launch was advertised in the local papers at the time, and slowly the number of members grew.

Today, there are 35 members registered; however, the number who turn out to the monthly gatherings is often low and Luykx is growing tired of being the sole organizer.

Instead, she’s hoping to hand over the responsibility to someone younger who will see the support group into the future.

“I’ve had a tough life, but a happy life… This group has helped,” Luykx said.

In October, the group is set to meet at The Gathering House in Chesterville for pizza and a guest speaker, and in November it’s off to Mary’s Restaurant in Winchester followed by a performance of the Dundas County Players’ next production at the Old Town Hall.

For more information, contact Luykx at 613-774-4948 or Alida Scheepers at 613-774-3356.