Disclaimer: This is written based on things I have felt going through my personal journey as well as things I have heard other widows say. Obviously, I can’t truly speak for all widowed people nor do I feel as passionately about some of what I am about to say as other widows do. So, please, confirm what I am about to say with those in your circle. Thank you!
Hello to all of our friends! It’s us…your widow friends, and we need to talk. We want to have an open and honest conversation with you.
First off, let us just say that dealing with grief and death is uncomfortable. We get that it’s hard to walk alongside us during this emotional, challenging, and gut-wrenching time. Please don’t give up on us. Chances are we will turn down your invitations several times. We as that you don’t stop asking us to do things. Be patient. Keep trying.
We also ask that you don’t force us to put on a happy face all the time. Let us be real. Love us through it. Give us grace when we have difficult moments. Never ask when we are going to “get over it”, and please don’t expect us to be “back to normal” in 2 months, 6 months or even a year. Understand that we have lost our person. The one we pledged forever to. This takes time, and we are trying.
If you are a married friend reading this, we are so very happy that you still have the love of your life. Never in a million years would we wish this journey on anyone, but we also want you to fully understand that this can happen to you. We don’t want to scare you or make you sad, but we want to make sure that you are aware and prepared. Research your state’s laws regarding spousal rights after death. Study up to find out what happens to your home or any debts after your spouse dies. Don’t assume you have the answers. Know that it is never too early to get a will, but it can be too late.
Please don’t forget to get life insurance. Can’t afford a huge policy? That is okay. Funerals are expensive, and it is often hard to go back to work after you have faced this loss. Every little bit helps. When you are grieving, the last thing you want to do is worry about money.
Most of our friends that are single are so because they have gone through a breakup or divorce. Some of those relationships ended in some pretty harsh ways, and we feel for you. We can empathize with you, and you with us. While we are all grieving, please know that our grief journey is different. We want you to appreciate that our losses are not the same. Do not compare solo parenting (no help from another parent ever) to single parenting (help from another parent at least occasionally).
To all of our friends, both married and single, we don’t feel that our situation is necessarily harder than anything you are going or have gone through. We know that we can come across that way at times when we are deep in our grief. Please give us time to process everything and time to heal. If you need to talk to us about something we have done that bothered you, especially during the first year, please do so with love. Make sure that you don’t do it during a highly emotional time.
All of this is said out of love. Truly, we love you and value our friendship. We want our friendship to grow closer during this difficult situation rather than apart. We just know that we can’t expect anyone who hasn’t been through this to fully understand, so open and honest communication is key. Do any other widows have some advice to add? Please feel free to share in the comments.