People craft– getting along

On Wednesday I brought a home cooked salmon dinner and purple orchid to a friend who lost her husband to cancer.

Losing a spouse is devastating. It brings pain and loneliness, but it also presents practical challenges that are difficult to prepare for. When someone we love has been recently widowed, we want to be able to help. However, we often don’t know how. Here are some ways to reach out to widows and widowers in their times of need.

L. had been suffering from an avalanche of challenges. Sleep deprived while she slept in her husband’s hospital room, the rollaway is not easy on the back. L. and B. were a loving but childless couple, and she was the only one at these overnight bedsides.

When her husband passed, the cumulative effect left her shocked. She is having a hard time taking care of her basic needs and surroundings.  I asked basic questions– sleeping, eating, transportation, cleaning.  L. is finding these things therapeutic, so she said.  I think phoning, emailing, and bringing meals is important and shows we care.

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5 thoughts on “People craft– getting along

  1. Dash Hamelton

    I know of this sad situation. The death of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences. The bereaved struggle with many intense and frightening emotions, including depression, anger, and guilt. Often, he or she feels isolated and alone in his or her grief, but having someone to lean on can help him or her through the grieving process.

  2. Hi Dash. Discomfort often prevents us from reaching out to someone grieving. Now, more than ever, our support is needed. I didn’t know what I would say. I didn’t have answers or give advice. I was there to listen.

  3. Janessa Breckenridge

    Here are ideas of what to say from the American Cancer Society–
    • Acknowledge the situation. Example: “I heard that your_____ died.” Use the word “died” That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.
    • Express your concern. Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”
    • Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings. Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.”
    • Offer your support. Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”
    • Ask how he or she feels, and don’t assume you know how the bereaved person feels on any given day.

  4. Oh yes! Unless you know and share the other person’s beliefs, saying things like “he’s in a better place now” or citing Bible verses could really be offensive or, at the very least, unmeaningful.

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