Our Story

From my Hands…To Yours! – by Albert Zammit – Part 1

References have been made during our membership meeting ‘Ward u Zahar’, of which I myself was a member – more so a member of the committee that brought on the ideal that the situations of a widower, and that of a separated individual are different to a significant degree. That which was being said was beneficial to separated individuals, yet was causing significant harm to widowers. That which is beneficial to one individual, after all, may not be applicable to another individual to the extent that it causes detriment. It was this situation that moved me to approach the Chairman of the group with the idea that the widowed individuals of our group should form a separate branch while social activities were to remain being carried out in unison. Our discussions however were to be catered to the singular contexts of widowhood and marital separation.

Days later, on the eve of Good Friday in 1997 I found myself in a discussion with 2 widows – Joyce Wright and Carmen Muscat, where I shared with them the idea, and in turn they shared with me their enthusiasm, and we began working on it. We went on several media outlets, we were even interviewed by several newspapers – and the applications started coming in. We were surprised by the amount of response that we received. More than 80 people were interested to join us. That meant that what was supposed to be a section of the group ‘Ward u Zahar’ would outnumber the main group, therefore it no longer made sense to be just a section of a group, so we began working toward creating an entirely new one that specifically catered to widowers from a young to middle age.

I was listening to a discussion on a television programme on an English channel, about the struggles that widowers in the United Kingdom were facing. One person remarked that widowers could not be treated like the mainstream members of society, as they are functioning ‘minus one’. It was from there that the name of our group originated, after a discussion of my own with Joyce and Carmen who agreed that ‘Minus One’ would be a suitable name for the group, and for what it represented – however, we were still concerned that the name would carry with it a negative connotation, which is why we named our newsletter H.E.A.R.T.S – with the meaning of Healing, Empowering and Remembering Treasured Soulmates. We outlined our statute, and made arrangements to hold our first meeting. Our first meeting took place in Floriana, on the 28th of June 1997, which is what we consider to be the birth of ‘Minus One’.

The purpose of this meeting was to inaugurate the group, and to assign a provisional committee so that our activities could commence immediately. There were other issues to consider, amongst which was to find a place where to congregate. Our first activities took place during the summer of 1997, and these activities had to take place in public spaces. It was thanks to the intervention of the then Director of the Customs Department , who was able to provide us with the opportunity to make use of the foyer of the Education Department, which was then directed by the Honourable Minister Evarist Bartolo. It was there that we held our first official meeting.

Today I can say proudly that that from that time onward this group has helped hundreds of widowers to get back on their feet after they found themselves in the situation of having to be both father and mother the group has been through a lot since then, but this is a story for another time.

to be continued

A message by our Spiritual Director

Minus One and plus sixty…

(What makes us useful?)

Our Bible tells us ‘Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!’ – Psalm 133:1. For our Friday meeting members, this quote holds a significant meaning. At the end of the week, after our work and the challenges of daily life, we meet together.

Sometimes it is a meeting and sometimes it is an outing, or a quiet coffee. Everything helps us to fond the balance in our hearts that lets us face another week.

Not everyone comes to this group for the same reason. There are those that come here because they are looking for someone to talk to, to learn something new, to meet with friends or to spend time with their partners.

With these things we foster compassion amongst ourselves while we continue going through our lives, even though we do not always agree one with the other – but despite this, the purposes that this group serves are worth looking after like the greatest of treasures! For this I thank each and every one of us.

From time to time this leads us to a great appreciation of what this group like ours serves to the widow/widower community.

The beneficial impact of a group is not measured by the number of activities that are carried out – although they are good things that encourage and maintain the engagement of our members.

We cannot even measure the impact of a group by the number of members that comprise it – even though there is strength in number and unity.

The beneficial impact of a group is measured by the manner in which its’ members consider one another, how the members are welcomed, and how their burdens are made lighter by being shared among others.

While each member contributes to the betterment of group, the group also contributes to the betterment of its members by allowing them to express that which they think, and feel. A good group is measured by the empathy and compassion that it fosters amongst its members!

For this to take place, each one has to do their part. The Committee listens to the members and create opportunities and occasions for interaction. The attending members are able to hold open discussion with the Committee, and the Committee listens.

Every message, be it one that brings good news or even those that bring bad news, brings with it a growth, which allow for friendships become stronger, and help is given when needed.

I thank everyone for their work. I thank everyone for thinking about one another. This is what makes us useful to the community, this is how a good impact is measured.

Fr. Saviour

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