grieving

9 Ways to Help a Grieving Widow/Widower

Another post on grieving you ask?

Yes-it seems to be a subject that continually comes up in life. Grieving is a difficult process and something I feel I know a little about.

As you know if you’ve read my posts I’ve lost a husband and a boyfriend in the last 5 years. I don’t bring this up for pity, just understanding that sometimes I feel the need to write about this subject.

The need today is the fact that my brother has lost his wife. It happened unexpectedly just a couple of days ago. They were married almost 40 years ago, when I was 8. It’s brought up a lot grievingof feelings for me, but it’s not about me. It’s about him and all the other folks grieving from a recent loss.

I wish I could come up with something new and fresh to say about the pain we all have to deal with eventually, whether it’s a spouse your grieving for or some other important person in your life. It really sucks that we can’t control death.

Nothing is going to take the pain away for the remaining spouse, but there are actions we can take to let them know we care.

9 Ways to Help the Grieving:

  1. It can be uncomfortable figuring out what to say, but don’t let it stop you. You don’t really have to say anything except that you’re sorry, give them your number and a big heartfelt hug.
  2. Check-in occasionally. Don’t let them feel forgotten. Call and text from time to time. Along with letting them know you’re thinking of them, it also helps you gauge how they’re coping.
  3. Invite them out to lunch or dinner once in awhile. They may not accept your invitation, but it’s good to throw out the option in the hopes they’ll get out of the house and among other people.
  4. Let them talk. I talked (and sometimes still do) incessantly during my early bereavement. It probably drove people crazy, but for some of us, that helps work it all out in our mind.
  5. Don’t push the grieving to straighten up, get it together, or move on. Unless their actions or attitude seem harmful or long-lasting, let them work through it at their own pace. Everyone deals with things their own way.
  6. Encourage them. If they have a special interest or hobby, encourage them to keep up or start back with it. Or introduce them to a new hobby. If you admire them, this is a great time to tell them so. As long as you don’t hound them, positive reinforcement can be helpful.
  7. If you’ve never lost a spouse, don’t tell them you understand what they’re going through, because you really don’t.
  8. If you have experienced this type of loss, it doesn’t make their pain go away, but spending grievingtime with the grieving spouse will give them hope that they can get through it just like you did.
  9. In some cases the surviving spouse may not know how to pay the bills, use the lawnmower, etc. because they never had to do it before. Offer to teach them.

Conclusion

For me, knowing what to say is the hardest. And making sure I keep in touch can be a tough one too. Over time we tend to get caught up in our own lives and forget to contact others.

I can only do a few of these things for my brother because he lives 1200 miles away. But I’m with him in spirit and hurting so badly for him and his sons right now. It’s heartbreaking. I do intend to contact him every day until the funeral and then frequently after that. Maybe I can talk him in to coming to Kentucky for a week of hunting and fishing when he feels better.

Please don’t forget your grieving friends and family. When the funeral is over and they have to get back to life it’s tough and they need your support.

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