It is the home to a Modern Widows Club chapter guided by leader, Annette Vogel Cox and Co-leader, Karla Simpson. The original chapter leaders became acquainted during a parent-teacher conference at the high school Annette’s children attended. Eventually, their bond grew stronger with each shared struggle as widows.
Their husbands’ deaths had changed their lives forever, but they were grateful for the chance to help each other refocus and find joy in their lives. They attended grief sessions together and met regularly, encouraging and supporting each other over meals and even during parent-teacher conferences! Striving to affirm and guide others widows to experience the encouragement and understanding they have received, Wisconsin’ s first MWC chapter was formed.
In February 2016, Karla Simpson joined Annette as the new Co-Leader after being an involved member of the chapter. They believe that heart-warming, thoughtful, and productive conversations, shared with fellow widows are extremely valuable. They reach out to other widows through MWC social gatherings the second Monday of each month in a relaxed, comforting environment. They believe that sharing one’s loss, along with learning to trust God’s plan for each of us, can lead to welcoming the future with gratitude and joy. Crossing the bridge from great loss to happiness and fulfillment in life is easier when accompanied by friends.
Annette interacted with other widows socially, choosing uplifting women that provided a safe place to laugh, cry and rejoice about life and joy that still surrounded her. She soon felt a calling to help other widows find this same support and encouragement after the loss of their husbands. After discovering Modern Widows Club on Facebook in 2013, she immediately believed in this organization and sensed it could be an incredible way to spread the help she has received after her loss. She has learned that “Why me?” is not a question to dwell on or to ever be answered, but your situation can be understood and accepted. She also realizes that “showing up” is the first and likely the most difficult step in growing and becoming stronger after loss, but from there you can find hope and begin to believe that you will feel alive again. Annette has emerged from a life consumed by grief, to one that one that challenges her to be strong, sensitive and compassionate to those suffering loss. She desires to walk along side other widows and to dream and be courageous together.
Annette has a bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education and has worked as an educator in local health departments, hospitals and schools and also as a full-time mom for many years. She recently remarried her Chapter Two on New Year’s Eve 2015, and continues to be a role model for many giving back and empowering all who find their way to her chapter.
Grace has poured into her life and she feels blessed to have the opportunity to share in loss while gently exploring together so many reasons to smile. She is honored to help each and every MWC member, “live for today, while honoring yesterday.” Janesville’s social meetings will be a place to share both trials and successes, while affirming with gratitude our current lives and all that lies ahead while acknowledging our pasts.
MWC Chapter Leader: Annette Vogel Cox, was married for 19 year and had children, 11, 15 and 16 years old, when her husband Steve died from suicide in 2005. She was 46 years old. While grieving and struggling with the sudden loss of her husband, she felt blessed with an extremely supportive family and inspiring friends. She slowly moved through the intense grieving her loss demanded. Annette was extremely grateful for the support she received after her husband’s death, however, she eventually realized that no one like another young widow could empathize and understand the extensiveness and complexity of her grief and the challenges she faced.
Contact Annette via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
MWC Co- Leader: Karla Simpson, was married for 31 years and had two grown stepchildren and two young granddaughters when her husband, Randy, died in 2013. She was 57 years old. She was blessed to have the love and support of family and many friends at her side. Now, MWC has expanded that support, love, hope and courage to help her move forward into this new chapter of her life without the deep guilt, fear, pain and loss she once experienced.