Helping a widowed friend

• Understand that all bereavements are not the same. Losing a brother is not the same as losing a spouse. Losing a friend is not the same as losing a child. The sadness is there but the underlying grief is extremely different. When I lost my husband, people told me millions of stories about how they lost a mum, dad, sister, brother, pet……all sad, all grief stricken, but a different level of grief.

• Spousal grief is incomprehensible unless you have lived it. Speaking from experience It’s a new normal that I don’t want! I had an unbelievable life with my husband and I don’t understand how to be without him, all I have ever known is him and me.

• If you know a widow or widower get together with friends and work out a roster to call them. Every day, even just 2-3 minutes of “just checking in, is there anything you need?”. It is important that you don’t try to acknowledge that you know how that person feels unless you have been through spousal loss yourself.

• Put together a care package for your widowed friend. Include items such as tissues; wine; restaurant numbers for take out; vouchers and numbers for babysitting; cinema vouchers; their loved ones favourite item of clothing; a framed photo that you have of them together; books for them to read; a blanket to cuddle up with; TV streaming service paid for; flowers- there are many more things I am sure that you can consider.

• Don’t “not mention” the one who has passed away. You may be uncomfortable with it but know that your friend may need to talk about them. It may be something that you have to do to help them.

• Offer to help them with jobs that may need doing around the house. Don’t be offended if they say no.

• Be there when they need you, as much as you can, day and night.

Be the person that they don’t know they need. 
Be the friend that they don’t realise they want beside them. 

Be their support.