The Full Story
Andrea Row is currently a graduate student in the field of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, specializing in grief and loss. She facilitates peer-based grief support groups for widowed people through a private practice in Western New York, has created a journal called "Death Sucks: A Journal of Life After Loss" to be used as a tool for its members (and anyone else who wants one), and continues to create handmade Malas for meditation.
How it began
In 1998, Matt and Andrea met at a wedding and fell in love. They married in 2002, their son Jacob was born in 2004, and their daughter Sydney (their rainbow baby) was born in 2007. In 2008, Matt was tragically killed in a work accident. Soon afterward, Andrea began actively volunteering in peer-based grief support for widowed people through Soaring Spirits International and over the past 12 years has served in roles as the assistant to the founder, workshop presenter, ambassador, and regional group leader.
From 2016-2019, she served as president of The Matthew R. Row Scholarship Foundation, Inc. which she co-founded with Matt's colleagues. During its time in operation, the foundation distributed $32,500 in college scholarships to high school seniors in the Western New York area who lost a parent or guardian, and $4,000 in Camp Widow® registrations. (Camp Widow® is one of several programs offered by Soaring Spirits International.)
How it's going
In 2018, she began the first Soaring Spirits Regional Group in the Buffalo, NY area, and around the same time, launched a small business creating handmade Malas for meditation. Through the Malas by Andrea social media accounts, she shares the Malas she makes as well as the strategies in which she has been reclaiming her health after a diagnosis with an autoimmune condition. Though she no longer leads the Soaring Spirits Regional Group for the Buffalo, NY area, she is working towards her master's degree and licensure. She has also began peer-based grief support groups for local widowed people that have a more therapeutic approach, covering topics that extend to all areas of life affected by widowhood.
Raising her two wonderful children as an only parent will always be the greatest achievement of her life.