Death happens. Now what?


How to get Practical

If you’ve lost your partner, there’s the Being The Widow category. I ruminate on coping with death and loss and share things about being single again in Newly Single? Surprise! And something I wish I had known more about when I was newly widowed was things people say to you. I would have appreciated bracing for a few of the doozies. (They really happen!) I might have been more open to the depth of feeling hidden behind the words had I been expecting them. I hope it helps you see the kindness behind the awkwardness.

If your friend has become widowed, go here first. Read it and do it. For more, there’s a Being The Widow’s Friend category. And there’s the Top Ten Things Not To Say To A New Widow, hopefully providing perspective on both sides of the death fence. Look around and see what resonates with you.

Everything here is written in the straight man/woman marriage, feminine form, such as “she”, “widow” and “husband”. You can alter it however best fits your needs. John and I did not have children, so I don’t speak to being a newly-alone parent. I can’t even imagine what that’s about. If you are, I hope you’ll start a blog for those like you, or add some thoughts in here.

Most importantly please, if you’re in too much anguish or feel so overwhelmed you can’t go on—seek professional help immediately. It really does help to talk to the pros to get you through the darkest times. Believe me, I’m no professional anything. Go to the ones who know how to help: talk with your doctor, clergyman, therapist, support group… whatever gets you through.

Or join in. There’s plenty of room. Let’s try to help one another.

Here’s some observations from the widowed side and suggestions for the other side that might help:

Some things that helped me get through the final days. Things you can do and things you can do for your friend.

If you’re skilled at writing or artwork, helping with the obituary is a great kindness. Even if you can’t get something done that quickly, a memorial book or website can be much appreciated.

Do your honest best to get there. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but ceremony binds us together. Spouse, parent, sibling, friend, dog—it doesn’t matter who died, it means a lot to the bereaved if you show up. It’s comforting to see that someone cared enough to show up for a few hours.

Giving your time is a great kindness. Being the widow also means being a hostess to a certain extent, but you don’t always have the time or ability to spend emotional energy. Here are alternatives to supporting your widowed friend after the whirlwind slows down but grief hasn’t.

What to do with those days that once were reminders of joyous times, that relentlessly come around year after year and that remind you of so much you have lost.

The death makes her cry. The loss and the loneliness and the fog that’s blocking the future: that’s just some of what makes her cry. You didn’t do it. But sit down and listen to her anyway, that’s why you are friends.

Please don’t say you don’t like talking about such things. I think we’re all with you on that one, but come on. I’m not asking you to write a thesis on the subject. I’m asking you to reach out to your friend. Acknowledge it and move on.

4 Responses to: Death happens. Now what?

  1. christine says:

    I still have a husband. He is 75 and I am 68. We have been together since I was 19. I went from my parents house to living with him.
    I can count on my one hand how many time we have been seperated. I am writing this post because I have been thinking to much lately about who sill die first. Being he is older I assume it wil be him. But things like this we never know, and I realize I am wasting time thinking because I may be the one that goes first. I have always been the type of person that like to be prepared. I know I can never really be prepared if I become a widow, but reading some of your posts help me to understand some of the feeling women have to go through.

  2. Cathy says:

    My husband of 38 1/2 years died in August. I believe knowledge is power. Feeling powerless I searched for blogs about new widows. I read all of this blog along with the few others available within a few weeks of my sweet heart dying. They help in so many ways. I feel peaceful about the many situations that are thrown at me. I don’t worry about my “ambush” tears. I do not worry about things people say I just feel their love. I do not worry that I still feel such a loss 9 months later. I am planning on the 1-3 years to become whole again. Thank you for helping all who come to your site. Time does not heal all wounds but it does soften them. You have helped me feel normal. So I am free to take the healing as it comes.

  3. Jasmine says:

    I just lost my husband of 10 years on Monday. He was only 33. Thank you for this.

  4. Ava says:

    My husband died suddenly within two weeks of being hospitalized (Feb 9, 2016), and even though he was 79 and I 66, it is still incredibly hard for it to sink in that he is not going to walk through that door. We were married 48 years; one week before my 18th birthday. A far as the ‘ring issue’, with all the shocking life changes/adjustments for me, I not only have so much comfort in wearing my wedding band and engagement rings, but also placed my husband’s gold wedding band on same left ring finger; and it has made me feel very peaceful and comforted. The thought of NOT wearing the rings actually never even crossed my mind until the other night. I was watching an interview with Celine Dion, when the camera showed her left hand with no rings at all. Her husband Rene had passed away 4 months before that interview. Believe it or not, when I saw that bare hand, it was the very first time it occurred to me that it might be expected of me to not wear my rings. God had given me a great deal of peace that particular week, but when I saw that interview I became almost panicked thinking I might have to experience yet another loss. My husband new the Lord and I do have the Peace of knowing he is with his Savior, but I miss him more than I would ever have imagined. Maybe some day I may decide to move the rings, but right now they bring a smile to my face, and as yet, no one has commented on me wearing them. I pray for God’s Peace for all you who are suffering the loss of your dear husband or wife. God Bless you!

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