Love Mom XOXO Non-Profit Supporting Widows, Widowers Suffering After Loss

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When Lynn (Nespoli) Lewis passed away in December 2020, her family was left with a huge void.

The 48-year-old Newtown resident was a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. The brain aneurysm that claimed her life left her 24-year-old husband Al suddenly alone. It also left the couple’s children – three young adults – without their mother. Al was thrust into the unenviable role of being both parents at the same time as he became a widower.

Lynn’s older sister, Lori Nespoli, watched her brother-in-law and his children struggle during those days.

“They were trying to find their place, figure out what to do and how to do things, while hitting big milestones,” Nespoli said. There have been vacations, birthdays and graduations for the Lewises, all without the flair and joy that Lynn would have added to all of them.

“Lynn was the glue for all of them, for a lot of people,” her sister said. “You need something, you would call Lynn. You want to talk, you would call Lynn. Everyone went to her house and she made everything special.

Eighteen months later, Nespoli still misses her sister’s ever-present smile.

“I always expect to hear her voice on my phone. We have family dinners at our mom’s house every Sunday and we always wait for Lynn to come join us at the dinner table,” she said. always those dinners – they were passed down to him and we’ve had them all our lives – but it’s not the same.”

Nespoli knows she and her family are not alone in mourning a loved one like Lynn Lewis. So she set out to create and launch a nonprofit foundation that she hopes will help other spouses and families who find themselves in situations similar to hers just 20 months ago.

Love Mom XOXO is a 501(c)(3) that Nespoli describes as a family bereavement organization focused on surviving parents and their children.

“Every day in the newspaper you read about these families losing a parent, and suddenly these people are mourning their partner while fulfilling the role of both parents for their children,” Nespoli said. “The rest of us around them, we’re trying to fill those voids, but it’s just not the same.”

Ripples and splashes

“Ten years ago, I never would have thought my family would be here,” she added. Joined by a friend outside Uncle Matt’s bakery on a sunny morning last week, Nespoli spoke about her sister, the incredible hole left in the lives of so many – the ripple effect and the splash effect, she called them — and what she and others are doing to help others navigate the painful path she and her family continue to walk.

Knowing that other families were simultaneously going through similar movements, Nespoli decided that helping them could at the same time honor his sister’s memory.

“My head is spinning with everything we can do,” Nespoli said. “There are many support groups geared towards women, often for those who are older. We wanted to form a community to support each other.

Its first steps have created an online peer support forum. There is already a private Facebook group for those who want to connect online privately. The foundation’s website (lovemomxoxo.org) also has growing sections that offer resources for fathers, mothers, and family members in general.

As the foundation’s finances grow, stated goals include booking educational workshops and motivational and supportive speakers; provide family services such as housekeeping, meal planning, tutoring, etc. ; organize fun events and activities; and provide financial support immediately after a loss.

The foundation’s ultimate goal, Nespoli said, is to develop scholarships and grants for educational and extracurricular activities.

She approached her brother-in-law, her nephew Derrick, and her nieces Gina and Tori when she came up with the idea for Love Mom XOXO.

“I spoke with them first, before doing anything else, and they were very excited,” she said. “I know she is watching and would want us to do this. I know she’s watching Al and the kids, seeing them struggle.

Love Mom XOXO derives its name and logo from the signature Lynn Lewis has put into countless notes and cards for her children. The foundation was officially launched on Mother’s Day, after Nespoli and the Lewises secured nonprofit status for their foundation.

“We told the rest of the family after everything was approved,” she said. Love Mom XOXO is not trying to replace anyone, Nespoli said.

“We’re not trying to take the place of anyone’s parent,” she said. “We try to help others who are in the same place as us. We want to help other families who have suddenly lost a mother or a father, a wife or a husband.

“It’s been really hard watching my brother-in-law and the kids,” she added. “If we can navigate ourselves and help others, that’s the best we can wish for with Love Mom XOXO.”

Driven with a purpose

The 1st Annual Love Mom XOXO Driven With A Purpose Motorcycle Ride was featured on Sunday, July 31. This was the fledgling foundation’s first public event.

Al Lewis “loves to ride,” Nespoli said, “so he raced this one. It was a big summer event, and he did it with his two best friends. The whole family cooked and we attracted a lot of family and friends.

“It gave us a chance to pull ourselves together to do things together, like we used to do before,” Nespoli added. “We had a great turnout. It went very well.

Runners departed and returned to Dickinson Park, with dozens of family, friends and supporters remembering Lynn Lewis during an afternoon dedicated to her memory and the future of the new foundation.

After the ride, guests focused their time and attention around the park pavilion, where plenty of food awaited them. Funds were raised through the sale of t-shirts bearing the foundation’s logo, as well as raffle items.

“It helped us turn a negative into something positive,” she said.

Entertainment and Games, August 28

The next public event is scheduled for Sunday, August 28. All are invited to “Summer Lovin’ Wine Down,” a family event featuring light appetizers, board games, lawn games, a silent auction and raffles.

Nespoli credits longtime friend Sarah Geckle with the name of the fundraiser.

“Lynn’s favorite movie was Fat, so we incorporate that into that afternoon of games, which she also loved,” Geckle said, laughing at the memory. “She really liked board games. She could be very competitive.

One of the main goals for next weekend, Nespoli said, is to have fun. Memorial fundraisers can be more than gloomy.

“Lynn loved the games, so we’re going to do a lot of things in her honor, not just focusing on her,” she said. “My sister was all about summer and smiling. We went with our cousins ​​to a vineyard and played games, had a great time and vowed to do it again.

The second gathering of cousins ​​for games at a vineyard didn’t happen until Lewis died, so Aug. 28, Nespoli said, will be “we’ll do it for her and to celebrate her.”

If necessary, the outdoor event will be moved to Sunday, September 11, in case of rain.

For this reason, and for meal planning, the organizers strongly encourage reservations. Visit lovemomxoxo.org and click on Events to make a reservation.

The cost is $50 per adult, which includes a glass of wine; $80 for two adults (one glass of wine each); $100 for a family package (two adults and two children aged 11 to 21, a glass of wine for each adult, a soft drink for each child); and $10 per child/supplement for the family pack. Children 10 and under are free, but registration is still required for each child, again for planning purposes.

Everyone is welcome. Proceeds will benefit Love Mom XOXO and its mission to provide resources and support to surviving parents.

Love Mom XOXO is also planning to participate in the Newtown Labor Day Parade on September 5. Further afield, a comedy night with headliner Dave Reilly is scheduled for November 5; additional details TBA.

Nespoli sees the foundation’s mission in memory of his sister as akin to Kintsugi, the Japanese art of piecing together broken pieces of pottery.

“It’s like when a plate breaks,” she says. “We are slowly putting the pieces back together. We won’t be the same, but you fix it and move on. We want to help everyone do that.

For more information, visit lovemomxoxo.org or find the organization on Facebook at Love Mom XOXO Foundation Inc. Founder Lori Nespoli can also be reached at [email protected] and 203-641-5818.

Love Mom XOXO derives its name and logo from the signature Lynn Lewis has put into countless notes and cards for her children.

Family members of the late Lynn Lewis – featured at a July 31 fundraiser in Dickinson Park – have formed a nonprofit foundation to help other families who suddenly find themselves with a parent filling the roles of mother and father after a death. Love Mom XOXO is a family bereavement organization that focuses on surviving parents and their children.—photo courtesyLori Nespoli

***USE THIS OR THE PHOTO WITHOUT THE FRAME ON THE TABLE***slightly different cut lines for each*** Love Mom XOXO Founder Lori Nespoli looks through a binder filled with the mission statement and other organizational records for the 501(c)(3) founded to commemorate his sister. On the table in front of her is a small framed photo of Nespoli with her sister. —Bee Photo, Hicks

Love Mom XOXO founder Lori Nespoli browses through a binder filled with the mission statement and other organizational documents for the 501(c)(3) founded to commemorate her sister. —Bee Photo, Hicks

Runners departed and returned to Dickinson Park before enjoying an afternoon of food and fundraising on July 31. The upcoming Love Mom XOXO fundraiser will be another family event, designed to celebrate two of Lynn Lewis’ favorite things: the movie Grease and board games. .

Love Mom XOXO derives its name and logo from the signature Lynn Lewis has put into countless notes and cards for her children.

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