Widowhood equals crying. It is just that simple. Widows need to cry in order to relieve the stress and pain associated with loss.
Most widows don’t want those around them to see them cry. Crying shows vulnerability. Even those going through extreme grief often want to hide their pain. Crying is a God-given way to express sadness but even those who are in great pain tend to cry in private. Widows often tell me that they cry in their cars. I understand. When I was a widow I cried many tears in my car when a certain song came on the radio or I passed something that reminded me of happier days.
Sometimes well-wishers are uncomfortable when the widow begins to cry so they try to stop her from crying rather than just sitting with her while she cries. Stopping her from crying will lead her to “stuff” the feelings that must be released for healing. Ultimately, not crying will prolong the sadness. Putting your hand on her arm or your arm around her shoulder while she cries will show that she is not making you uncomfortable, and will give the widow permission to cry.
Rather than look or walk away when your friend starts to tear up, please persevere with her. Say things like, “I know”, and “I’m sorry you’re hurting.” But please, always allow the widow to cry.
Coming next week: Allow the Widow to Lead the Conversation.