When Dennis Walters' wife died in 2003, he said it felt like someone had "cut out his heart and ripped open his soul."
The 64-year-old Bart Township resident said his life continued on a downward spiral to the point where he gave up hope for any happiness.
"The one good thing I did was to seek out God and ask for his help in getting me through the despair I was living with every day," said Walters. "He answered my prayer when I just happened to open the local newspaper and saw an announcement for an upcoming GriefShare session at Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church."
Thirteen weeks into attending GriefShare in 2004, Walters met Lois Davis, who lost her husband and has formed a Widow2Widow program for women through New Hope Community Life Ministry in Quarryville.
Now, three years later, the lieutenant of operations at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster and Davis, a registered nurse, are getting married Nov. 18.
Walters said he understands that men have a hard time expressing their feelings, especially after a divorce or the death of their wife, so he will be sharing his story at a one-time breakfast for divorced or widowed men at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Memorial United Methodist Church, 101 S. Hess St., Quarryville.
"The breakfast is to explore the possibility of putting groups together for both divorced and widowed men," said Walters. "We believe there's a need and we're exploring that need."
Walters said it's important for men to communicate with other men who have gone through the same kind of grief.
"It's important to need to heal before considering a relationship, much less a marriage," said Walters.
Ginger Holler, executive director of New Hope Community Life Ministry, said men are quicker to remarry after a divorce or death, often on the rebound.
"They need to go through this grief period and realize that wherever we are is where God wants us to be," she said.
Earl Rutledge, who is divorced and now remarried, will be speaking about divorce at the breakfast.
"It's to encourage and let men know that life is not over," said Rutledge, who lives in Quarryville and is a member of Memorial UM Church. "For me it was great because I got saved and became a born-again Christian."
Walters said men need to be willing to deal openly with the issues they're facing.
"I encourage men to be willing to come together to share their experiences with others and to develop an understanding on how to successfully deal with it," he said. "We need other people and we need God."
The breakfast is free but there will be a basket for donations. Men who attend are asked to RSVP by Oct. 2 by calling New Hope at 786-2802.