Dawn Nargi's marriage was unexpectedly cut short. Four years after saying "I do" in Italy her husband Norman died of cancer.
"What you don't realize until you are widowed is how much your life completely changes. So everything from finances to child care to your social situation to even everyday things like walking the dog," Nargi said.
The Upper West Side resident had just become a mom and was suddenly confronted with having to raise their son on her own.
"There is this fog that you feel, like you're on the outside, looking in to life," Nargi said.
Nargi says she was lifted from that fog with the help of other widows.
She attended various support groups, but says never found one that fit her needs.
So, she formed her own, called The W Connection — "w" meaning widow.
She hosted the first meeting in her living room in 2009.
It’s grown into a non-profit organization that reaches across the country.
Ten chapters all run by volunteers and supported by donations connect widows to other widows, giving them a safe space to grieve, grow, and feel empowered.
Since its launch, thousands of women have turned to The W Connection.
"I'm going to have to say that The W Connection has saved my life. There is really only so much your friends and your family can say or do because at the end of the day, if you haven't gone through this horrible experience, you don't really know. And coming here, I was safe," said Nicole Gurganious.
That's Nargi's goal, to provide these women with the resources they'll need every step of the way from financial and legal advice to emotional support.
"It's so wonderful to see these women walk into a meeting and then, three months later, six months later, a year later, they become a totally different person and it's so great and amazing to be able to watch that growth," Nargi said.
So for helping women rebuild their lives after loss, Dawn Nargi is our New Yorker of the Week.