‘He was gone … I never thought death was an option’
By Kristina Busch
Sun Sailor Newspapers
Though often unnoticed or unaddressed, grief is a common occurrence in life.
There are resources and experts on the subject, though there is somewhat of a stigma attached to grieving a loved one.
In attempts to combat that stigma, Widow Might, a Maple Grove-based nonprofit which connects widows to each other and to grief-related resources and events, works with women who have lost their husbands, to aid in the mourning process.
When people lose a loved one, they can feel lost or unsure of their next step, said Pam Lundell, co-host of the 98.5 KTIS Morning Show and a current advisory council member for the organization.
“I found that, early in the [grieving] journey, it’s so crazy and you’re in such a fog that you really need to reach out and have resources in areas of finances and counseling to help you get through some tough spots,” she said.
The organization offers resources for counseling, financial coaching, home maintenance and prepared meals. It also provides resources for grief services and youth programs for children.
“Widow Might is a six-year-old organization that helps widows, especially early in the journey, know they can move forward to leave, heal, grow and thrive,” Pam said. “The mission is to help widows connect.”
Lundell has worked in radio in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years, she said. She was married in 1994 to John Lundell, a traffic reporter for KTIS, and worked with him at KLBB. After struggling with addiction and poor health, John died in 2005.
“It was really quite shocking,” Lundell said. “He was suddenly gone and I never thought death was an option.”
She said she received support from family, friends and the church, but, shortly before her husband’s death, KLBB was sold.
“All of a sudden, I was a new widow looking for a job in radio in the Twin Cities,” she said.
Within four months of losing her husband, Lundell was working at KTIS on a morning show.
“When I was working on the AM station,” she said, “I was really grieving during that time and I got to talk to a lot of authors and teachers, and that really helped me in my journey.”
She said people who knew her husband from the radio started to call her and reach out.
“It was so encouraging because they would say things like, ‘If you can get up in the morning and have a smile on your face, I can too,’” she said.
She began to connect with other women through the station and, in November 2011, she and 15 other widows had a “Novembering” dinner in celebration of their husbands. This is now an annual Widow Might event.
Because of her experience being a younger widow and her new group of friends who also lost their husbands, Lundell said she decided to join the organization’s board of directors.
“I’m 12 years out, so I’m in the position where I can help and let others lean on me while they go through the difficult times,” Lundell said.
She said each story of grief is unique, and each person has to go through it and not around it.
“If you try to avoid it, it’s going to come out one way or another,” she said. “Reach out to the people that love you.”
Lundell married again in 2014.
On June 19, she will be a guest speaker for the Encourage Her Network Signature Women’s Networking Luncheon, where she will discuss WidowMight and her experience as a widow.
The event will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bloomington.
More information can be found at encouragehernetwork.com.
Contact Kristina Busch at [email protected]