Debbie was a stay-at-home mom of four young boys when her husband passed away unexpectedly. At 35, she was thrust into widowhood. “In an instant, my worst fear became my reality. An unchangeable reality,” writes Debbie, in this blog post. Debbie, who is a fitness coach, recalls the weeks immediately following her husband’s death as a “fog” in which many well-wishers stepped up to help.
Through her darkest hours, Debbie still had the presence of mind to pay attention to the comments, advice, and actions others took to help her family in their time of need. She recaps her observations in the blog post, Love, Then Loss: How to Help Those Who Grieve.
Several of Debbie’s tips for helping others grieve relate to our ministry’s Caregiving Basics—four basic guidelines to help ensure that you offer loved ones the attention and support that they need. Here are a few examples of caregiving that Debbie experienced during her time of grief:
Of prayer, Debbie shares, “I have never experienced so much prayer and I now realize the impact it has.”
Listen. “Allow the griever to talk and share and vent and cry and throw stuff and to be silent. Don’t always feel the need to fill the silence,” writes Debbie.
Respect the grief process by not hiding behind false cheer. “I appreciated friends who would say, ‘I cannot believe he is gone. This is so awful and hard,’” remembers Debbie.
Please also remember that no matter what the griever is going through, you must preserve their dignity. Avoid making assumptions. Instead, ask questions to know what the griever would like. Debbie appreciated when people would ask, Is it Ok if I bring up your spouse’s name, or would you prefer not to talk about him?
As Debbie illustrates, Wisdom of the Wounded’s caregiving basics are simple everyday actions that help people during a time of grief.
Thank you, Debbie for sharing your wisdom with us.
About Debbie: Debbie Wilkins Baisden is co-leader of Momsanity, a community of Moms striving to achieve balance through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. She is the mother of four sons, ages 9-13.
[Editor’s Note: Wisdom of the Wounded’s Karen Mulder met Debbie at Proverbs 31’s She Speaks Conference. Debbie submitted her story via our Share Your Care Well Story page. If you have a story of caregiving to share, please consider sharing it.]