Personality: Lynda Sharp Anderson | Richmond Free Press
Three decades ago, when Lynda Sharp went to a magazine marketing event with friends, she didn’t know the young man named Dolson Barnett Anderson Jr. who was there with his own friends. They both volunteered to help the magazine, got to know each other better, and later became a married couple.
The rest, says Ms. Anderson, is history.
“But that’s not how Dolson would tell this story,” Mrs. Anderson chuckled. “He always liked to say I was there with two other men until he knocked me off my feet.”
The couple spent nearly three decades together, often talking about a plan to create something together that would allow them to give back to others. Unfortunately, this plan never materialized.
“I was living my life, getting married and enjoying my husband,” Ms Anderson said. “One day he was there, and the next day he wasn’t.”
In April 2020, Mrs Anderson lost her husband after contracting COVID-19.
“When he went to the hospital he was able to walk to the stretcher,” Ms Anderson said. “I had absolutely no idea that would be the last time I would see him. Because of the pandemic, I couldn’t even say goodbye. I still feel sick to my stomach with it.
Coping with such a devastating loss was difficult. She decided to create a foundation using the first letters of her own name and that of her late husband to name her. The DBALSA Foundation was launched earlier this year in April with a mission to provide widows with compassion, love, support and respect. The DBALSA Foundation offers referral services for counseling, organizing finances, personal care and more. It has also partnered with various churches to offer support services.
“After the death of my husband, it has helped me enormously to know that I am carrying out our plans,” Ms Anderson said. “He is definitely in my heart and in my head as I move forward with his memory.”
In addition to establishing the DBALSA Foundation, Ms. Anderson also works for the City of Richmond’s Department of Social Services as administrative support to the Division of Children, Families and Adults. It’s another way to give back to the city she loves.
There are still days when she struggles. Ms Anderson says walking in her fear of the unknown has become a mantra for her. And when the going gets tough, she draws inspiration from her mother, the late Ruth S. White, whom she calls her “North Star” and her “rock star.”
“My mother came from a very small town in South Carolina and went to Baltimore to earn a living and raise her family,” Ms Anderson said. “She poured that spirit into me. She has always been my best cheerleader.
Ms Anderson says she has strived to be that same shining, inspiring light for her own daughters and grandchildren.
Now she hopes that sharing her experiences and offering support through her foundation will bring hope, health and healing to other widows. She even thought of offering support to widowers after realizing that many men are in the same situation after losing their wives.
While grieving is something everyone will inevitably experience, Ms. Anderson believes having a strong support group can help ease the burden of depression and bereavement.
Meet a widow who provides vital support to other widows and this week’s personality, Lynda Sharp Anderson:
Volunteer position: Chairman and CEO of the DBALSA Foundation.
Occupation: Administrative support for the City of Richmond’s Department of Social Services.
Date and place of birth: April 9 in Baltimore.
Where I live now: Richmond.
Education: Baltimore City Public School System; attended Towson State University.
Family: Two sisters, three adoptive sisters, one brother, three daughters, one son-in-law, two grandchildren.
The DBALSA Foundation is: A new ministry that brings hope, help and healing to widows of color who live in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland (DMV) area.
Assignment: The DBALSAFoundation seeks to help widows of color move on with their lives, find a safe haven while they heal, cope with their loss, provide financial assistance to help them with the finances needed to survive, and most importantly, to turn their test into their testimony. .
When it became clear that this foundation is needed: When I became a widow in 2020, I struggled to find help to deal with my grief and daily needs. In due time, I slowly found my way with the help of family, trusted friends and associates, and the black church. However, I decided to “be the answer” I was looking for by giving birth to the DBALSA Foundation.
Meaning of name: DBALSA is named after my late husband – Dolson Barnett Anderson Jr. and me, his widow, Lynda Sharp Anderson. Thanks to DBALSA, I can always feel connected to my beloved Dolson, who rose to fame on April 22, 2020, after contracting COVID-19. Dolson and I have been married for almost 30 years. To honor Dolson’s life ministry is to honor his dedication to me and our family, friends, church, community, and career.
Grievance and the DBALSA Foundation: People experience grief differently. The DBALSA Foundation supports and assists widows in the most difficult moments of their widowhood journey.
Healing and the DBALSA Foundation: Healing from a tragedy is also different for everyone. The sole purpose of the foundation is to walk alongside those who experience such tragedies with compassion, love, support and respect. One of our mottos is: “Be the friend of another woman, that friend who sees the first tear fall, holds back the second tear and prevents the third from falling.
Offered services: The DBALSA Foundation offers referral services that include, but are not limited to, online prayer groups; advice, financial resources, personal care and safe harbor; online group sessions via Zoom, and more.
The DBALSA Foundation is a partner of: Fit to Give, Westwood Baptist Church and Presence Place Inc. in Metro Richmond, and Balm in Gilead for Communities of Color and Sahara Communications in Metro Baltimore. We are looking for additional partners to join us in our efforts.
What I learned about myself during this trip: I continue to evolve knowing that I can be both strong and weak, organized and chaotic, fearful and fearless, bitter and sweet – all at the same time. It’s me, and I stay strong in this newfound awareness!
What I now know about grief: I am convinced that grief is inevitable. We will all cross this bridge and experience grief in one way or another, directly or indirectly. However, having foundational support during our times of grief will help determine our outcome.
Depression and grief are: Not a destination; they are a journey, a stay. Depression and grief can take many paths, but our gateway of support can ease the burden and make all the difference in our widow’s journey.
How to get involved: We strongly encourage those on a widow’s or widower’s journey to visit our website thedbalsafoundation.org, or contact me at [email protected] We would like to hear from you! A perfect day for me is helping someone along the way, so my life won’t be in vain.
What I continue to learn about myself during the pandemic: How fearful and wonderfully made I am, and how truly blessed I am to be loved and supported by so many people.
Something I love to do that most people would never imagine: I like to watch a sunrise and witness the great work of God.
A quote that inspires me: “Today I am starting a new life; I will greet this day with love in my heart. I will persevere until I succeed. I am nature’s greatest miracle. I will live this day as if it were the last. Today, I will be master of my emotions. I will laugh at the world; today I will multiply my value a hundredfold. I will act now. I will pray for guidance.
My friends describe me as: Fun loving, funny and witty.
At the top of my to-do list is: To create the “to-do” list and then execute it.
Best late night snack: Hot Tamales…all night!!!
Best thing my parents ever taught me: To love and be loved back.
The person who influenced me the most: My mother, the late fabulous and incomparable Ruth S. White, who was my North Star and my Rock. I miss her everyday!
Book that influenced me the most: “The World’s Greatest Seller: The Ten Scrolls” by Og Mandino.
What I’m currently reading: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers.
Next goal: Building a network of bereavement and financial counsellors, creating care packages for local widows and widowers, as well as engaging in strategic fundraising are at the top of my “to do/what’s new” list.