Local group helps Clarksville cope with loss of loved ones


James Carter was Barbara Carter’s love of life for 51 years. The center of his universe.

The couple met at 15, married at 17 and had two of their three children at 21.

Carter said she suffered from grief after James’ death from cancer in 2013. She had no relatives in Clarksville to whom she could turn to help her overcome her overwhelming emotions.

“My husband has been gone for a few years, but I was struggling,” Carter said. “I’m also a pastor in my church and felt like I had to be strong, because people were looking at me.”

Carter had a good poker face for a while, putting a figurative mask on his pain so as not to draw attention to his real struggle inside. But at night, in private, a devastated woman fell asleep crying.

In 2016, while working as a polling agent, she met Treva Gordon, who introduced her to Lending Our Shared Stories, a group designed to help widows and widowers of all ages express their emotions without feeling judged.

Barbara Carter, one of the original organizers and members of LOSS, poses for a portrait before attending the reunion at the Carter's home in Clarksville, Tennessee on Monday, December 20, 2021.

“Nobody is going to tell you ‘you have to get over it’, (there is) no negativity,” she said.

With a support system in place, Carter found a better balance with her feelings and said the group was a “godsend” for her, inspiring her to become more involved in the group and to become an agent who helps them. new widows.

Speaking with widows in the group, Carter said she embraced the reality of her husband’s death.

Gordon, who started the organization after her husband died two years ago, said that each year the group plans an event for widows to come together, share stories and enjoy the company of others.

Last week the band watched “Charlie Brown Musical” together and for the past few years have been involved in makeovers, an approach to remembering lost loved ones.

The group has expanded to include helping children.

“Knowing that someone is there for me that I could cry and no one would look at me like I’m crazy,” Gordon said. “I always tell them when I talk to them, I was able to be open in exposing my feelings.”

LOSS members in attendance for the reunion take comfort and talk about their feelings at the Kleeman Recreation Center in Clarksville, Tenn. On Monday, December 20, 2021.

Contact reporter Craig Shoup at 419-559-7582 or by email at [email protected] and on Twitter @Craig_Shoup. To support his work, get a digital subscription to TheLeafChronicle.com.


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