Couples fall in love and take the vow "'til death us part," yet when death comes — especially when it comes too soon — what next?
"That's what we want to show women, there is life after this, that you can pick up the pieces and begin again and thrive," said Nanci Masso, a Dallas woman whose been there.
Masso's husband died 10 years ago. She was 50 when she lost the man with whom she'd been married for 28 years and shared five children.
"You do have to accept it," she said. "You get to a place where you have to find peace with that loss."
Masso got to that place of acceptance and peace and now shares what she learned with members of the Modern Widows Club. She co-founded the Dallas chapter of the national organization.
"One of our ladies was married to a professional ballplayer. One was a Fortune 500 company. Then we've got stay at home moms and everything in between," she said. "The average age of a widow today is about 59 years old. And there are 800,000 to 1 million widowed every year. So we're getting younger and younger every year."
Emily Keith is one of them. The 34-year-old Dallas resident lost her husband in 2013. They'd been married slightly more than five and a half years and had two children. She found compassion, empathy and support in Masso and other members of the Modern Widows Club.
"You come to a point where you celebrate what was, but then you say what's next? I'm still here, my kids are still here, but I still have a life to live and things to do," said Keith. "So, it's a way of meeting people who are working towards moving foward or working towards moving forward, whatever stage they are in. Relating to each other."
"You don't feel all that normal sometimes with some of the feelings you're having because grief is kinda of a strange thing, the roads it takes you down," Masso said. "But when you meet someone who has experienced that, there's this sisterhood that's formed immediately."
The women meet once a month and hear from speakers such as a counselor, a therapist, a financial expert and even a dating coach. But the biggest benefit comes from connecting with others who've experienced a loss that while, inevitable, still hurts deep in the heart.
"Once you come out of that, family, friends, everybody else has gone back to work and you've done that little grief work and then you wake up and are like now what?" Masso said. "So, we are the what next group? We help them educationally, support wise, socially, because you're world changes overnight emotionally, physically, financially."
"There is hope for you if you've lost someone," Masso said. "That's the biggest message we want those ladies to understand."