Every year 800,000 people become widows and widowers in the United States. We all probably know someone whose spouse died in the past year or two, and we wonder, what can I say and do? Miriam Neff of The Widow Connection shares 7 “Tips to Help Widows:
- Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in my universe. I don’t need “space” to grieve.
- Please do say you are sorry for my loss. Don’t say you understand, or tell me your story of loss. I may be able to listen to your story later, but not now.
- Do call and ask specifically, “Can we go for a walk together? May I do errands for you? Meet you for coffee?” Do not say, “Call me if you need anything.”
- Do refer to my husband’s words or acts—serious or humorous. I am so comforted by knowing my husband has not been forgotten.
- Invite me to anything. I may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not assume I no longer want to participate in couples events.
- Do accept that I am where I am. Marriages are brief, long, healthy, dysfunctional, intense, remote. Death comes suddenly or in tiny increments over the years. We are all so different, as is our journey through grief. No one grieves “by the book.”
- Walk the talk. Do not say, “We’ll call you for a dinner date”—and not follow up. I’m sensitive; I’d rather hear, “I’ve been thinking of you” than make an offer for the sake of conversation.
For more information, Visit Miriam Neff’s website: Widow Connection