After being happily married for almost twenty five (25) years to John H. McBride, I became his widow in January of 2011. Over the years, I have experienced deaths of my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, but there was absolutely no death that made a personal impact like my husband's. John was my second marriage, and he was not only a loving mate, and wonderful stepfather to my daughters, but he was also my business partner and daily prayer partner. He was the senior loan officer, and I was the real estate agent for our clients. It was because of his insistence I became a realtor. We worked well together. John's bout with cancer started in 2007. In 2008 we suffered severe financial losses that stemmed from the Great Recession. After he died in 2011, I got involved with a widow support group and saw the value of sharing with women that had experienced the loss of their husbands. Although I had administrative skills from my many years of experience as a Hospital Administrative Director and Marketing/Sales Executive for a manufacturing company, I had zero skills in areas where my husband provided.
Never in my life had I experienced doing things that many would consider being male-dominated. I grew up with my brothers, and my husband took care of everything. Caring for the house, the business, automobile, and finances was overwhelming at first. I remember being so frustrated about getting the wrong size for a replacement item for the bathroom. Fortunately, my daughter moved in before his death and was a tremendous help. With the widow support and opportunities to learn and re-train my thinking, I not only survived, but I had a passion for helping others through this journey. I recalled attending a meeting where the director said something powerful. The director said widows are empowered. At that time, I could not relate. I asked Rachel Flores, "how can I be empowered and feel vulnerable and even angry at times?" Where is this in the scripture? I was directed and reminded of the scripture Proverbs 15:23. He will establish our borders. Yes, we will preserve us. He will establish our estate and empower us for this time.
I have had the opportunity to see many widows go through the healing process of widowhood. Many experience immediate financial and housing needs, career changes, or getting a job for the first time or in a long time. Just imagine, after examining your budget and eliminating the unnecessary things, to only need an extra $250.00 a month in the budget to alter your decision not to sell your home. Prior budgets clearly based on two incomes coming into the household. Surprisingly, some were not aware of all of their family assets, which were kept somewhat secret. I'm humbled that God has chosen me to carry out this Vision. My passion is to see women navigate through widowhood from that initial grief stage to a place of empowerment and to be able to volunteer for good causes and eventually find their purpose for this time in their lives.
Founder of Cascade of Empowerment