‘You are not alone.’ 2 New Jersey women start support group after losing spouses to COVID
Two women from New Jersey who lost spouses to COVID-19 have formed a support group on Facebook to show others who experienced a similar loss that they are not alone.
The Facebook group Young Widows and Widowers of COVID-19 has grown to include 300 members who have all suffered a common loss during the pandemic. It was started by 37-year-old Pamela Addison and 33-year-old Kristina Scorpo. Both are mothers to two children and both lost their husbands to the virus.
“[My husband] was placed on a ventilator on April 7…I just really thought he was going to beat this,” says Addison.
Addison’s husband Martin was a health care worker at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center. He passed away on April 29.
Scorpo’s husband Frank was a Paterson police officer. He also died quickly from COVID-19.
“They put him on a ventilator April 2. He passed April 12 – early morning,” Scorpo says.
COVID deaths bring the unique and unforgiving experience for family members of not being able to be there in the hospital as a loved one takes his or her last breath.
“The fact that a lot of us didn't get to say goodbye because we couldn't physically be with them. The last time I saw my husband was April 3 when he was loaded into the ambulance,” Addison says.
Soon after their loss, the two women found each other.
“I got this card in the mail from Kristina saying, ‘You’re not alone,’” says Addison.
Together, the two women formed the support group Young Widows and Widowers of COVID-19. They say that they support each other in many ways, but especially when it comes to the children.
“We’re still talking about [Frank] and we are still bringing him up. It’s like he never left,” Scorpo says.
Addison spoke of her daughter.
“I saw early on that she was missing her dad and even though she was 2, I knew she needed therapy. That was really helpful for her,” Addison says.
The women say that their bond his helping their grief and they invite others to join them.
Addison and Scorpo only live 30 minutes apart from each other, but have not met in person yet due to the pandemic. They say that they will wait until the spring when hopefully the world is a little safer.