Mother’s Day, which is coming up on Sunday, May 14, 2023, will not hold happy memories for everyone.
Shameka Williams, CEO of Baltimore, Maryland-based Those Without Mothers, is taking action to support grieving sons and daughters, regardless of age or gender. Williams legally founded the Baltimore-nonprofit in 2022 to offer support, direction and hope to individuals who have lost their mothers.
“Everyone should receive help at this trying time and shouldn’t have to deal with their loss alone,” Williams said. “The inspiration behind Those with Mothers came from the loss of my own mother.”
Williams said that losing her mother was the most traumatic thing that happened to her. She further explained that her mother, Patricia Sanders passed away from breast cancer when Williams was 25 years old. At that time, the majority of Williams’ friends had living mothers and did not understand her plight.
“All I could think about was not having her here just to get advice or always to have somewhere to call home,” Williams said.
She also stated that loneliness drove her into a cycle of bad habits that included addictions, poor decision-making and even suicidal attempts.
Pain propelled Williams to arrive at a bigger purpose. Today, Williams owns an executive assistant agency. She is also a motivational speaker, the host of the “Being Bipolar Podcast” and she created other resources that promote emotional comfort. Her professional work includes life, trauma and grief coaching and education. Williams is certified in grief and bereavement counseling.
“Working with others who have lost their mothers has merged my passion for people and my love for empowering others to hope again,” Williams said.
Williams is taking the initiative to provide another safe space for grieving, motherless people before Mother’s Day. The annual Those Without Mothers Brunch will be held on May 13, 2023, from 12-3 p.m. at 9990 Liberty Road in Randallstown, Md.
“I started this brunch because, for so many people, Mother’s Day was a day of loneliness and despair, so I wanted to have an event where people could come and restore their hope in life,” Williams said. “The goal is to allow individuals to vent and feel support in a safe environment with people who may have had different experiences, but [who] ultimately can understand the significant loss.”
Food, games, encouraging spoken word and dialogue will be integrated into the event that Williams describes as “ageless and genderless.” The brunch welcomes individuals who have lost a mother or mother figure.
Kimberly Watson has utilized the support and services of Those Without Mothers. She lost her mother in 2014.
“I attended a Those Without Mothers brunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The event was welcoming and the guest speakers were highly encouraging. It helps to know that I am not alone in what I am going through,” Watson said.
She added that Those Without Mothers saved her life. Being a part of it gives her a sense of purpose.
Anyone of any gender may attend Those Without Mothers’ events, regardless of subscribership on the website, www.thosewithoutmothers.org. But those who do subscribe may find out about other online and in-person events that they may attend, in addition to available resources.
“Group counseling is virtual now, but we are looking for a meeting place to have in-person sessions. Events are held in different locations depending on the costs, as we like to keep costs low. We have events in the DMV [D.C., Maryland and Virginia] area and will also have an affair in Pennsylvania this year,” Williams said.
She added that Those Without Mothers connects “grieving individuals with therapists and sometimes psychiatrists.” Addressing food and housing needs for displaced people who have lost mothers, and paying for insurance co-pays, medicine and counseling services for uninsured individuals are more examples of how help has been extended to individuals.
Destiny Whitehead lost her mother 17 years ago when she was 15 years old. She knew Williams prior to the launch of Those Without Mothers.
“Those Without Mothers provides the support and encouragement that I needed as a child and I’m happy to be a part of such a strong set of individuals,” Whitehead said.
For those who experience the loss of their mother, she recommended giving themselves the space to allow grieving to occur.
“And find your support system that understands and nurtures you,” Whitehead exclaimed.
Visit www.thosewithoutmothers.org/events to learn more about the upcoming brunch. The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday, May 11, 2023. Visit www.thosewithoutmothers.org, the blog https://www.thosewithoutmothers.org/blog and private Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/3133559926882516/ to access ongoing resources.