Oh no, he didn’t really DIE, did he? Her husband died and now your friend is a WIDOW. You ask yourself what you should or shouldn’t do to help and you come up blank. Fear of saying the wrong thing paralyzes you. You want to “make it better” or “make the pain go away” but the overwhelming sadness of this situation clouds everything. You may rush to your friend’s home only to find that you are in a crowd of people all milling around trying to be supportive of each other while the widow is not even there but at the funeral home or trying to buy a gravesite.
Some people are able to walk into the home of a friend whose husband just died and take over the day-to-day needs of food, child care, cleaning, etc. Others aren’t comfortable in that role but feel the need to be at the widow’s home to be emotionally supportive and just “sit” with the widow as she cries or stares into the air. The widow needs both types of friends.
Please don’t expect the widow to tell you what to do for her. Questions of what she needs will probably go unanswered. If you are at the widow’s home and see a need, please just fill the need…wash the dishes, clean the cat box, take the dog out, supply more milk. Don’t ask, just do. Your deeds may not be remembered by the widow and may never even be acknowledged by anyone. A true friend isn’t there to be acknowledged…she is there to help.
Being a widow is really, really, really hard and being the friend or relative of a widow is equally hard. Follow my blog and tweets every week for a tip on helping someone move through widowhood. Coming on my next blog: Allow the widow to cry.
If you know a widow or are a widow, I can help. To move through the grief into the rest of your life, contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org . All coaching is done over the phone and the first session is always offered at no cost.