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This room is for those who have lost a spouse and need support or who can provide support to those who have.

Saint Paula is the patron saint of widows and Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons
Learn More: Saint Stephen and Saint Paula

I'm addressing this to the ladies, however any suggestions would be appreciated. From my prayer requests the last 2 weeks you may already know that my father-in-law passed away after a brief illness. Because I myself was widowed just last year, my mother-in-law has gravitated toward me these past 2 weeks. I believe this is because I'm the only other member of her family who has been through this. Her two sons both live out of state and I am the only family member who lives near her. I've already spoken to my brothers-in-law and made them aware that I want to help them help her and they have agreed.

She is in her late seventies, healthy, financially set and very independent. As such, my support will be of the comforting nature. I have asked her to be my "Mass buddy" and she laughingly agreed. That will give me the opportunity to have weekly contact with her without looking like I'm checking up on her.

I know we all grieve differently and I suspect it is different for women than men (although I have no evidence upon which to base that assumption). So what I'm asking is, from a ladies perspective, what other means of comfort might I provide her. Please keep in mind, that I don't want to overwhelm her, I just want to make certain that she knows she is not alone.

Thank you in advance and peace be with you all.

Greg theheart
May 22nd 2014 new
(quote) Greg-1073162 said: I'm addressing this to the ladies, however any suggestions would be appreciated. From my prayer requests the last 2 weeks you may already know that my father-in-law passed away after a brief illness. Because I myself was widowed just last year, my mother-in-law has gravitated toward me these past 2 weeks. I believe this is because I'm the only other member of her family who has been through this. Her two sons both live out of state and I am the only family member who lives near her. I've already spoken to my brothers-in-law and made them aware that I want to help them help her and they have agreed.

She is in her late seventies, healthy, financially set and very independent. As such, my support will be of the comforting nature. I have asked her to be my "Mass buddy" and she laughingly agreed. That will give me the opportunity to have weekly contact with her without looking like I'm checking up on her.

I know we all grieve differently and I suspect it is different for women than men (although I have no evidence upon which to base that assumption). So what I'm asking is, from a ladies perspective, what other means of comfort might I provide her. Please keep in mind, that I don't want to overwhelm her, I just want to make certain that she knows she is not alone.

Thank you in advance and peace be with you all.

Greg
I think your offering to be her "Mass buddy" is great. I know that one of the things that was very hard for me in the beginning was the loss of "felt safety." I no longer felt safe in the world even though I was not being threatened by anything. I was more nervous about being in social situations, or being alone somewhere. Having you there with her, if this is something she is feeling, will help her to feel more secure. I think it also will help her to know that you, as her daughter's widower, still consider yourself family. I think she gravitates toward you because you know all the feelings she is experiencing now. No one but another widow/widower can know what it is like to lose a spouse to death.
May 22nd 2014 new
(quote) Kimberlie-1059215 said: I think your offering to be her "Mass buddy" is great. I know that one of the things that was very hard for me in the beginning was the loss of "felt safety." I no longer felt safe in the world even though I was not being threatened by anything. I was more nervous about being in social situations, or being alone somewhere. Having you there with her, if this is something she is feeling, will help her to feel more secure. I think it also will help her to know that you, as her daughter's widower, still consider yourself family. I think she gravitates toward you because you know all the feelings she is experiencing now. No one but another widow/widower can know what it is like to lose a spouse to death.
Thank you for your insight Kimberlie. I hadn't thought that she might be feeling unsafe.
May 29th 2014 new
Greg, I am sorry for her loss and yours. It is very kind of you to help her out. And I am sure that is another reason she is gravitating towards you besides being a widower yourself.
I too felt unsafe, I think about it still and have "armed my home and car" but I am better than in the beginning. I feel some anxiety going to church alone for some reason, even though for years I went to church alone because my husband could not always go. But I always knew he was still there. And of course Jesus is there, but having a physical person nearby helps. And now I wish I had a spouse to go with.
For me I wanted to be alone in my grief at the same time I wanted to be around people. So maybe just offering to come around and take her to dinner or shopping or for a ride might help. And being there even if she is not ready to talk about her loss yet. She will know she can talk with you or not and you will understand.
God bless you both. Praying rose hug theheart
May 29th 2014 new
Thank you for your insights Jane. We are planning to go bike riding this summer. She has a bike that she is afraid to ride because someone might try to take it from her. I bought myself a bike last summer so it is a perfect way to spend some time without having to talk unless she wants to.

Peace be with you Jane.

theheart
May 30th 2014 new
Greg, How fortunate your mother-in-law is to have someone attend Mass with her. Attending Mass alone
has been difficult for me. Since I'm in the same age category and I am also very active I'd would say going
to Mass with her and once a month go out to a nice restaurant with her. I think to be available often may prevent her starting a new life for herself. I have found that a good chunk of family time is good for all but it is to easy to spend most of my time with family and not stretch into new circles of friendship. A little bit of this and a little bit of that with the emphasis of "little."
Jun 12th 2014 new
It is wonderful that you are willing to be there for your mother-in-law. How wonderful that she is Catholic. Mine is not. In fact when her husband passed away almost 7 years ago, her daughter tried to get her involved in their Christian church but she didn't like the way the service was. All mine liked to do was shop and now that she is older and can't shop nearly as much she loves going to casinos. My husband converted to the Catholic church the year before we married. I so miss him
in church with me. I have been a member of my church for many years so try and sit near people I know.
Perhaps your mother-in-law has a group of friends or activities she is involved in? If not I would suggest you try to get her involved with people her age. If you want to be with folks your age be careful of not being "too attentive" to her. I knew I had to not be too available. I check via phone about every other day with her. Also, I still have both my parents to be attentive to.

Jul 15th 2014 new
I agree with what is being shared. The lack of feeling safe, even for no specific reason, the loneliness in church are experiences I've had as well. But then there are the practical things, like changing furnace filters regularly, or knowing who to call when something breaks down.
After 2 1/2 years on my own now I have been through the calendar and then some. I am getting good at solving my problems, but I am a bit younger than your mother-in-law probably is. And you may or may not know how much of her life (practically speaking) her husband managed for her.
So she has much to learn to do to keep things running smoothly. And how gracious of you to step in for her sons. She is fortunate to have you there.
My own mother became a widow just last August, so not quite a year now. It was an interesting role reversal for us that I was the one who had the experience in this matter and was able to support her through her loss in the early days.
Knowing how much time to spend with them is a balancing act. They need to be safe and feel supported. But they also need to experience the loss and not rely on others to automatically step in to relieve the pain, causing them to be in denial or to postpone the grieving process.
God's peace to you both. You have a big heart to be able to offer this to her. theheart
Jul 15th 2014 new
(quote) Greg-1073162 said: I'm addressing this to the ladies, however any suggestions would be appreciated. From my prayer requests the last 2 weeks you may already know that my father-in-law passed away after a brief illness. Because I myself was widowed just last year, my mother-in-law has gravitated toward me these past 2 weeks. I believe this is because I'm the only other member of her family who has been through this. Her two sons both live out of state and I am the only family member who lives near her. I've already spoken to my brothers-in-law and made them aware that I want to help them help her and they have agreed.

She is in her late seventies, healthy, financially set and very independent. As such, my support will be of the comforting nature. I have asked her to be my "Mass buddy" and she laughingly agreed. That will give me the opportunity to have weekly contact with her without looking like I'm checking up on her.

I know we all grieve differently and I suspect it is different for women than men (although I have no evidence upon which to base that assumption). So what I'm asking is, from a ladies perspective, what other means of comfort might I provide her. Please keep in mind, that I don't want to overwhelm her, I just want to make certain that she knows she is not alone.

Thank you in advance and peace be with you all.

Greg

1. God bless you for being kind!
2. Let her lead. She knows what she needs.
3. I don't think it's much different for women than for men. Perhaps we differ in grieving based on our stage of life (age, health, empty nest vs. young family, etc.).

:thumbup:
rose

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