Just to be clear, everyone you know has 100% chance of dying. Me, you and even your favorite dog. So why do people act so crazy when the inevitable happens?

Because there’s no guidelines.

There are social rules to everything except death. For those of you who are grief adjacent, I’m going to give you the following commandments for the widow or widower in your life. There are exceptions to every rule, but I think we can all agree for the most part.

  1. Thou shalt not judge how they are handling their new life.
    • Did you put your spouse six feet under? Get handed a food storage size bag of ashes? No? Then you don’t get to weigh in unless asked. Tread lightly.
  2. Thou shalt not ask for the deceased possessions
    • This should be self-explanatory but causes a lot of conflicts. Don’t ask unless offered. Be grateful if offered. Period.
  3. Thou shalt not act differently around the bereaved.
    • We know you have no clue what to say. Neither do we. Please act normal.
  4. Thou shalt clean the house.
    • Chances are your newly widowed person is struggling to keep up. Show up and start doing something. *Hint* we’re not going to ask for help unless there’s chaos breaking out.
  5. Thou shall make us get out of the house.
    • It may take a while and and we may look like Adam Sandler once we emerge. Still invite us to do normal things.
  6. Thou shall step in if we are making horrible life choices.
    • The big things: drugs, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts and bangs. Not moving, or remodeling or traveling or dating or anything that won’t matter in 5 years.
  7. Thou shalt not judge when or if we “move on”
    • Not your circus, not your monkeys. Rinse and repeat this. If your widowed person finds the absolute strength to love or not love again, DO NOT MAKE IT HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.
  8. Thou shall respect the chapter 2’s.
    • Non negotiable. If a man or woman steps up to this brave task do not make it hell for them.
  9. Thou shalt use the Bambi Rule.
    • If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
  10. Thou shall (in my best Joey Taranto voice) call your therapist….not a lawyer to resolve conflicts.
    • 9999999% of all family/friend issues after death can be resolved by Dr Phil not Judge Judy.


Nicole “Nikki” Jacquez started her journey in July 2020 when her husband, Jeremy, was diagnosed with stage one pancreatic cancer. Jeremy fought bravely but lost his battle in January 2021. He left behind Nikki, their daughter Mia, and countless friends and family. Becoming a widow at 29, Nikki has made it a priority to help educate and have open discussions about the unexpected in life. Nikki has made it a priority to live life to its fullest and to keep having as many adventures as she and Jeremy would have had together. Nikki is learning to live her next chapter in life and is hoping to help other widows be able to do the same.