A friend of ours, Ken Royer, recently shared some helpful insight on how to serve widows. Honestly I think much of this advice is applicable to anyone dealing with a traumatic event or a loss. Here are the 7 Top Tips to Help Widows as shared by Ken Royer from the book From One Widow to Another: Conversations on the New You by Miriam Neff.
1) Please do STAY CONNECTED: There is already a huge hole in my universe. I don’t need “space” to grieve.
2) Please do SAY YOU ARE SORRY for my loss. Don’t say you understand, or tell me your story of loss. I may be able to listen to your story later, but not now.
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 MY HUSBAND’S ACTS OR WORDS – serious or humorous. I am so comforted by knowing my husband has not been forgotten.
5) INVITE ME TO ANYTHING. I may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not assume I no longer want to participate in couples events.
6) Do accept that I AM WHERE I AM. Marriages are brief, long, healthy, dysfunctional, intense, remote. Death comes suddenly or in time increments over years. We are all so different, as is our journey through grief. No one grieves “by the book.”
7) WALK THE TALK. Do no say, “We’ll call you for a dinner date.” — and not follow up. I’m sensitive; I’d rather hear, “I’ve been thinking of you” than make an offer for the sake of conversation.
How are you serving widows? What about other friends or acquaintances that have gone through a loss recently? What type of words do you use when talking to them?
I was very impacted by reading these seven tips when Ken emailed them to us. The main reason was that I could easily relate to this woman writing about helping widows. During difficult times in our lives, we’ve struggled with the inappropriate things people say and do. We’ve also felt guilty for how we haven’t served our friends as we should have. We want to change that.
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