I found this article today that really hit home. I have always wondered what I would say to someone that now finds themselves bereaved, something that would be helpful, not hindering. I don't want to be a Don't Get It (DGI) for someone else! I did attend a funeral a year and a half ago, and I'm not sure I said anything helpful to the new widower. But then I wasn't really there for him anyway — I went more to grieve for myself in a place where it would be acceptable for me to cry publicly (which I did from the moment I walked in the door ;-).
Anyway, as soon as I saw this article, I knew I needed to post it so others could benefit, as well as myself. You might even want to print it out and send it to people you know. Enjoy!
7 tips to help a widow/widower
This really helped me the first few times I felt abandoned by family/friends/church members who had insisted they would be there for me...and then a couple of months later... "life" happened to them as I was desperately trying to stay still and not lose the fragile state of denial I was in. LOL I copied and sent via email to all the people I know. The ones who responded have said it really helped them to feel okay about feeling awkward and not knowing what to say. They have an awesome article about friendships and changes in those also. Just FYI it is a faith based webpage. Hope it helps.
7 TIPS TO HELP A WIDOW/WIDOWER
1. Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Do not assume we need 'space' to grieve.
2. Please do say you are sorry for our loss. We would rather you tell us you do not know what to say than tell us your story of loosing your friend or even close relative We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. Do not tell us you understand.
3. Do call and ask specifically, "Can we go for a walk together? May I run errands for you? Meet you for coffee?" Do not say, "Call me if you need anything."
4. Do refer to our spouse's acts or words - serious or humorous. We are so comforted by knowing our spouse has not been forgotten. Do not leave our spouses out of the conversation.
5. Invite us to anything. We may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not assume we no longer want to participate in couples events.
6. Do accept that we are where we are. Marriages are brief, long, healthy, dysfunctional, intense, remote. Death comes suddenly or in tiny increments over years. Again our experiences are so different, as are we. So is our journey through grief. Do not assume we go through the outlined grief process 'by the book.'
7. Walk the talk. Do not make 'conversation only' offers. "We'll call you and we'll go out to dinner." — and then not follow up. Yes, we are sensitive in our grieving, but we'd rather hear you say, "I've been thinking of you," than make a 'conversation only' offer.