I heard that today is International Widow’s Day and regular followers will know that acknowledging grief and helping those who are bereft is dear to my heart. I just wish bereavement was met with more empathy, sensitivity and constructive recognition when my own mother was left widowed at 43 with five children.
I remember my own mother telling me how people would cross the road to avoid talking to her after my father had died suddenly. Of course this said more about their reluctance to talk about death and ‘not knowing what to say’. As I so often write there are no right or wrong words but just to let somebody who has been widowed know that you are thinking of them/or have them in your prayers if that’s appropriate for you helps.
Avoiding discussing or mentioning the person that has died helps nobody, especially the widow. Something else I always remind people to do is to go and visit after the funeral which is a time that the widow and/or her children will need you most.
Additionally continue to invite somebody who is ‘single’ to your events.. for whatever reason they are now uncoupled, and maybe being widowed being one of the sadder reasons. It is far harder to rebuild a life as a single person than those who are still part of a couple can imagine. Not all widows or divorcees are after your husband..be generous.
Don’t assume because somebody’s husband had been ill for a long time it is easer on them either because it isn’t. In many ways it is harder as they have maybe seen their partner’s deterioration and a different type of feeling of loss has already started making it difficult to grieve normally (whatever normal is!). As ever the biggest gift any of us can give is our time.