WAIFS 2010 was started due to public demand following the first article about Maria-Louise Sawyer as she then was in the UK Press. It was started for women or men left alone in France who needed practical help and advice to survive alone. Bereavement or being abandoned was not a picnic she recognised and was brave enough to tell the world her story and wanted only to help others get of a bad situation if she could so approached various influential people and they luckily all felt able to help.
There are a team of French experts waiting to help you now in your darkest moments thanks to one woman left alone in, the Charente trrying ot survive and ofcourse the email help goes on day in day out for persoanl replies. If you are not sure how to proceed, you are alone and afraid, who else do you turn to?
The British embassy cannot help you. The neighbours cannot help, nor can the Mairie, well meaning friends or family in the UK. Maybe the doctor will tell you that you are not ill and he is not a priest to hear you confession. Friends whilst useful to talk to will not actually know how you should proceed, will soon have other problems of their own to deal with and will dread the knock on their door which heralds another weepie, woeful afternoon.
You then turn perhaps to the forums for ‘expats’ maybe and are treated to a lot of nonsense from ‘armchair experts’ who have never been in your shoes, but are only too willing to tell you all the ins and outs of hiring a van to get pickle at a good price from Tesco but what about CPAM you ask? What about it they reply. But are handy if you need a man to clear your guttering.
WAIFS2010 has been running now for a few years, strange to believe but true. Never did we imagine we would be needed but we are so are still beavering away at mission control.
We have heard stories from around 2000 people alone in France through bereavement or because like Maria-Louise are simply abandoned here to fend for themselves by cowardly partners. We tell them all the feelings of loss are the same with bereavement or being abandoned as you will experience, anger, sadness, fear, and eventually get to acceptance. All of these things are normal and no one should feel guilty at shouting at a cloud “why me!” Or breaking every cup in the cupboard.
The truth is there is not reason why it is ‘you.’ Nothing can prepare you for this. There are no rules, no books and not speaking French or being fluent makes no difference. You made a choice of life partenr and they are not here now end of story.
It is what French people call simply and rather charmingly “an accident of life.” So what happens now? you ask. That is the clever bit, you have to stand up, brush yourself off and deal with it. Believe me no one knows just how hard that can be until it happens to them.
There is no simple answer, short cut or rule book you just have to do it, and if you don’t, life will grind on until you can take it no longer and no one wants that. So that is why you have taken this first step and are reading this isn’t it? You are not a quitter and will get there somehow promise just take a deep breath, batten down the hatches, regroup and prepare for the battle of your life as that is what it will be. The sad thing is it is a battle against the one person you had always thought would be fighting at your side and there my dears comes the worst pain you will ever feel in your life.
If someone dies, they are gone but did not choose to go and so can be forgiven but if you were left here to sink or swim alone whilst the man or woman you trusted swans off, it hurts and in time you will perhaps feel stronger but will never forget or even forgive. That part of you sadly dies forever, even we cannot tell you the pain of betrayal will vanish and not have scarred you, as it will have a left a veryclear mark on your heart.
As everyone knows as I have been featured in International press articles, on numerous television programmes and on various radio shows. I told my story to highlight the problem I faced and is being played out time and time again everywhere in France and I wanted people to hear thatthere is a simple little site there to help at times like that now.
I, Maria- Louise Sawyer was abandoned here in the Charente since March 18th 2008 when my husband Carol Peter Sawyer left to go to Penryn, Cornwall to rebuild his life there, near to his first family. So what? No big deal! Well, actually it was a big deal! I had no idea what lay ahead and maybe that as a good thing as I would have jumped in the river had I known. Instead I faced it, fear and all and here I am 5 years older fitter, healthier and wiser by some miracle.
I had no heating, money, clothes and huge debts he left behind to cope with and best of all, (ha ha got ya, or so he thought at the time) no income. Did I simply crawl under a rock and let it all go? No way, not whilst I had breath in my body was I going to let a man like that win and profit further from me and my efforts. Not again as he ahd already run off in 1999 when we lived in my house in Liverton in Devon and I foolishly took him back. Having kept him, paid for his boats, cars, caravans, exotic holidays and top of the range cameras, boys toys etc. I had to take charge and rebuild my life and low and behold ( and no one is more surprised than I am now in 2013 let me tell you) I have survived here and so can you! Or you can if you know who to turn to for answers and solutions to the millions of things that will crop up and torture you.
This is what WAIFS 2010 is all about. I hope we are going to help you with what you need and save a lot of tears as I cried bucket loads and have to tell you it did nothing to help me.
I understand how lonely it can be at times, and live even today in a silent house, with relatively no human contact apart from work contacts after my “everloving” exhusband contacted the few ex-clients I had sold properties to and who had remained on friendly terms with and ensured they too would have no further contact or help me. Thus I was 100% on my own in a foreign land or as I felt up the creek without anyone or anything. The bank account I had paid my salary into was systematicallly emptied over an 18 month period and I was faced wit ha huge house, no money for oil, food, cold, afraid and in debt for the first time in my life and I felt I had no hope of ever getting straight again.
You will have read in the various newspaper articles I am famously quoted as saying “I do not do tea and sympathy” Let me explain why. It does not help you! That is not what I want for anyone who finds themselves in my former position. I want to show you how to fight to survive or exist as it cannot always be called living. I am not frigid nor some super cold fish without sympathy but “oh dear poor you” will not show you where to go for food handouts will it? Or legal advice and that is what you need right now.
Let me make it clear though, I do not hate men or eat men for breakfast, nor am I looking for a knight in shining armour to save me although the idea does appeal at times. I do scare them a bit at times I admit but they scare me too so fairs fair. I have a couple of men friends who I could not imagine not having as part of my life and value them and their opinions greatly. But they are friends, we eat together, laugh together and they are my rocks at times when the “man of my dreams” treats me badly or I am fed up. I in return am there for them and they know it and it is great.
I have had people suggest on WAIFS2010 it may be a good idea to allow people to get in touch for dating or other reasons. I have steadfastly refused all requests and shall continue to do so.
Whether you have been abandoned or bereaved, you are now alone and vulnerable and open to all sorts of unscrupulous people just waiting to try and hurt you. To them it is business, nothing personal, often just a job. But it is also putting your life at risk in some cases, so for that reason I refuse to allow contact details to go on the site and they are always removed.
I know a lovely lady who had been left in a difficult position and a very “ believable” man came along and targeted her and her aged parents, who were then conned them out of their life savings and they are now worse off than before. This lady was not stupid,nor did she deserve it, she was merely vulnerable, trusting and wanted to be loved and for that she and her family have paid dearly.
So please try and understand “alone” is just that. There is not always someone to turn to for sympathy. You have to rely on yourself and your instincts to survive. The official bodies who are there to help you in practical ways to everyday problems are not friends or family but if you those too lucky you.
That is where WAIFS2010 will be only too pleased to help if you do not have a support network, but as for getting you in touch with people only there to steal or hurt you, that I simply cannot do. I am afraid you are on the wrong site Buster if you think alone is another word for “easy prey” Because WAIFS are not that, we are fighters and we fight to win. We are decent human beings and deserve respect and admiration for what we go through and how we survive could be just like you, your Sister, friend, neighbour or Mother.
If you want to help us and perhaps you know someone alone and can help them go ahead, but if you are after money or easy sex forget it, we deserve better and I hope will find it in the coming years.
I am also constantly getting emails from people who start by writing how sad it all is that I am alone (and others.) Then they write again and say they and others wish to help. Then they write and often offer me money when I have never once asked for it! Then whammmy …… Here comes the real reason they want to get in touch! They want my bank details to give me money when in fact of course it is for some scam or other they think I will try as I am alone.“weak and feeble” or just plain stupid.
May I make it plain, I had a Mother who when I was 5 told me not to take money or anything else from total strangers and she was right to warn me then and I still do not break that golden rule. I have always believed there is no such thing as a free lunch! ANYONE offering you money or help who you do not know, is in my experience up to no good. So please, please be very wary and although I appreciate times are hard for you at the moment, must warn you all to keep your bank and other personal details to yourself at all times.
If you need advice from a Notaire, Avocat, Insurance expert or financial advisor but perhaps are not confident enough to try and go it alone, or are just not sure if there is an easier answer to a problem you are facing. We will try and help you. There are things to be done which include getting to grips with health care, selling your property and knowing your rights in France if you have been abandoned or bereaved or do not know which way to turn in a relationship that is going down hill fast.
All of the WAIFS2010 team are just a button away. Don’t spend time learning the hard way like I did, try WAIFS 2010. It costs nothing and you may learn something which will save time, and a lot of hair-pulling or tears as you move on with your life alone here in France or return to your Mother country. As I said before it is all about YOU now, your choice and your decision just use freedom of choice wisely.