01 Jun Seniors in Action – Benjamin & Barb Williams
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Greg Gunter
by Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Benjamin Williams, born in Richmond, Virginia is 66 years old. He met Barb on eHarmony after his wife of 40 years passed away. They found each other very easy to talk to and were surprised to learn they had much in common. Barb and Benjamin felt an instant attraction and are now enjoying life ‘together’. Benjamin says, “I’m happy to report that leading up to celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary, our love for each other is ever increasing!”
Benjamin attributes their successful relationship to the Grief Recovery Method® which he discovered soon after experiencing a multiplicity of losses. Becoming a widower after 40 years of marriage, was by far one of the greatest losses in his life. Benjamin is personally acquainted with various forms of loss (and their challenging emotions) which he passionately addresses with those he meets. He was deeply affected by his personal losses and the choices he made. Attending Grief Recovery training and applying the Grief Recovery Method® changed Benjamin’s life tremendously. He is passionate about sharing this practical wisdom with others who struggle with the same or similar challenges of loss and grief. As Benjamin will tell you, “I am no longer stuck in life, but moving forward with a renewed vigor and helping to equip others in finding their way to move forward as well!”
Benjamin is retired and finds joy sharing his art with the young, the old, and the “young at heart.” Once a graphic artist designing advertising for Donnelly Yellow Pages, IBM and Marriott Hotels, he is now living a very fulfilling life as an accomplished children’s book author, illustrator, and publisher. His book series gives a starring role to the family dog, a Spaniel named Mickey. Benjamin’s books include: Has Mickey Gone Nuts, Mickey Discovers New Friends, and Mickey Saves the Day. He hopes to someday translate his skills as a grief recovery specialist into a picture book for children, to help them cope with loss.
Barb, age 65, grew up in Pennsylvania and joined the Marine Corps after high school. She was stationed in Virginia, assigned to Accounting. She achieved the rank of Sergeant before her honorable discharge, and continued her career with an accounting firm and later an investment company. Barb and her daughter moved from Virginia to California, where she became involved at Saddleback Church in Irvine. Inspired by the “Celebrate Recovery” program initiated by Rick Warren, she took a leave of absence to be a missionary in Ensenada, Mexico working with prison inmates seeking recovery. Being bilingual was a great asset in this mission. After three years, she returned to work at the investment firm.
Benjamin shared that his move to California from Virginia came about in 2005 because his son won a Warner Brothers casting call. The entire family flew out to Los Angeles and his son pursued acting with a passion. They all decided to stay. By this time, Benjamin had been involved in full-time ministry for sixteen years in Washington, DC. Nine years after moving to California, Benjamin’s wife died and he met the fearsome challenge of grief. Benjamin says, “Grief will linger if you don’t do anything about it.” A colleague told him about Grief Recovery Institute and he began the journey to living fully again. His website http://www.lostandfound2day.com shares his personal story as well as insightful tools for others facing the grieving process.
Barb and Benjamin Williams are both trained grief recovery specialists and urge any seniors coping with grief to read the books listed on the Grief Recovery Institute website http://griefrecoverymethod.com and participate in their training classes. Besides this personal ministry, they enjoy walking their Chihuahua dog named Harrison, expressing themselves through art, and following their faith journeys at church and through conversations.