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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 hope this does not dredge up too many painful memories, but if those of you who were widowed suddenly could please share the most helpful things to you in that first few days, we are trying to give large numbers of people ideas about what they can do to assist my friend who has been unexpectedly widowed. There have already been so many visitors to her home bringing food that we suggested donations to a fund or grocery gift cards instead, because the other lady & I who were helping were starting to get concerned that things couldn't be stored and would just end up being thrown out. Everyone wants to help but nobody knows how. Is there anything in particular someone did or said that helped you? Were there any issues that came up a few weeks out that you wish someone could have been able to help with?

01/07/2013 new

I found that a lot of people help right at the beginning but then after the funeral they are gone. I think the most important help after the funeral was just having people to talk to on the phone. My work had meals delivered to our house (ready to go just needed to microwave) which was very nice because I had 5 year old twins at home and I just could not get the energy to really make anything. They also gave me grocery cards and one lady gave me stamps which was very nice because I just did not feel like leaving the house at the time. The one thing I will say is to not ask the person what they need-I just wish people could figure it out-it was so overwhelming-I could not even sleep those first few weeks.


I think being there to listen is so important-especially down the road. I swear I was in shock the first 6 months and everyone thinks you are back to normal but that is when the reality of the situation really sets in.


I feel like being widowed almost forced me to rewrite my address book. Some people cannot handle being around because it is too hard-and that is what is needed the most-just someone that is present. One thing I know for sure-I really appreciated and noticed the people that stepped up-some were very unexpected.


Hope this helps some.

01/07/2013 new

Katherine,
Just wanted to say you are a great person for caring and helping. I was so thankful for the people that were there for me. Praying for your friend.

01/08/2013 new

(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I hope this does not dredge up too many painful memories, but if those of you who were widowe...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I hope this does not dredge up too many painful memories, but if those of you who were widowed suddenly could please share the most helpful things to you in that first few days, we are trying to give large numbers of people ideas about what they can do to assist my friend who has been unexpectedly widowed. There have already been so many visitors to her home bringing food that we suggested donations to a fund or grocery gift cards instead, because the other lady & I who were helping were starting to get concerned that things couldn't be stored and would just end up being thrown out. Everyone wants to help but nobody knows how. Is there anything in particular someone did or said that helped you? Were there any issues that came up a few weeks out that you wish someone could have been able to help with?

--hide--


I agree with everything Teresa said, Katherine. While I can only offer suggestions based upon how I felt, I have found that my feelings are in line with other widow's with whom I have talked. We are in shock at first and go into whatever mode will help us put one foot into another. So many people show up after the loss, but it is when they all go home that we are really in need. That first night staying in the house alone I didn't sleep. It took me years before I could actually get a good night sleep and those usually still only happen when one of my family members are visiting.


Someone calling just to check on us can make our day. Our husbands are no longer there to do that. Just listening and just being there is comforting. There was a gentleman who took care of our cars who is still taking care of my car. He and his wife came to visit a month or so after David died and told me he wanted to still take care of my car and was also there to help in any way he could. He is quite the handy man and gave me some suggestions of what he could do to help. And he has been a man of his word. He's also in the Knights of Columbus which has always impressed me. My husband was a 4th Degree Knight. However, we had not been so impressed with the character of a greater portion of the Knights in our area. The gentleman that I am talking about became a Knight after David's death and certainly elevated my view of the local Knights of Columbus.


It really is after the dust has settled that is the toughest. The family has gone home and we are faced with what appears to be a very cold and cruel world ready to take advantage of us at any turn especially in our weakened state of grief. So I would suggest to your friends to stay around. Years don't really matter. The loss is so great even 6 years...the void left behind is still empty. I've tried to climb on the roof to check on shingles, climb under the house to check on plumbing, move furniture, dig huge holes to plant trees and I usually end up hurting myself (though I did OK on the roof and under the house and I even did some kind of plumbing and by accident fixed it) And it is just not the things that need to be done that he always did around the house; it is the loss of the friendship of your spouse...someone to talk to, someone who cares about your needs. That's where those friendships are so helpful, when it looks like we are OK and the time has passed so everyone thinks we should be OK. We really aren't. We had become dependent on having someone to lean on who really cared about us. We continue to need our friends more than before our husbands died even when we look like we are doing OK.


I hope this helps. Please ask us again anytime. Your friend has lost half of herself and she will need a lot of love and attention to fill that void. I, like Teresa, think you are a great friend and I'm glad your friend has you to care about her.


- Elizabeth

01/08/2013 new

I had great support from friends mine as well as his.Those who I worked with were wonderful as well as my school friends.People in church were also there for me.To this day his best friend is still a friend of mine. Many encouraged me and gave me advice.I went out with a few.Some people,who I wasn't even aware were widows came up to me and shared their experiences.

I thank God for each person he sent my way who helped me through it all. theheart

01/08/2013 new
01/08/2013 new
I think the first year you are completely numb and the second year you realize this is it he is not coming back. You have to get out and let your friends help you. It takes time to grieve but get out and be with people. Pray and frequent the sacraments.
01/08/2013 new

(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: I hope this does not dredge up too many painful memories, but if those of you who were widowe...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

I hope this does not dredge up too many painful memories, but if those of you who were widowed suddenly could please share the most helpful things to you in that first few days, we are trying to give large numbers of people ideas about what they can do to assist my friend who has been unexpectedly widowed. There have already been so many visitors to her home bringing food that we suggested donations to a fund or grocery gift cards instead, because the other lady & I who were helping were starting to get concerned that things couldn't be stored and would just end up being thrown out. Everyone wants to help but nobody knows how. Is there anything in particular someone did or said that helped you? Were there any issues that came up a few weeks out that you wish someone could have been able to help with?

--hide--


Katherine - it has been six years for me (six years this February), so the kindness and support I received remains a strong memory. My children were young at the time (8 yrs, 2 yrs, and 4 months), so a neighbor (now a very close and life long friend) would watch my two youngest so that I could drive my oldest to and from school, do my grocery shopping, and work from home (that was a blessing). What helped me most along the path to healing was the friends that would stop by, or call, and just listen. They would listen to how I felt, whatever random thoughts happened to come out of my mouth, and listened to my thought process for planning for the future. The key here is they just listened. This offered me both companionship and support in ways they could not image. In contrast, family would offer encourage, kind words, and support. But, the listening made the biggest impact since what I needed to do was "talk to someone." I will carry this lesson with me my whole life. It is amazing how listening helps family, friends, co-workers, and even stranges - it is an amazing gift. God Bless.

01/08/2013 new

I usually tell people to bring soup in the beginning. It is so hard to eat and the meals delivered were heavy pasta dishes that I couldn't even swallow. A homemade soup is plain goodness. Also, it is difficult to shop, so if someone could offer to run errands, that would help. A neighbor took my daughter shopping for dresses for the wake and funeral and it was so appreciated. Just going to sit and listen. Bring tissues, don't ask them what they need. The only thing you can think of needing is your spouse.

Someone to help with oil changes is a definite godsend, as is someone that cuts the grass or shovels snow without being asked. Ask her what she misses most, say his name, it is music to our ears. If there are young children, take them for a bike ride, shoot some hoops with them, play a game or catch.

I remember sitting outside, numb, watching my kids dance in the sprinklers. A friend saw me and just came and sat, not saying a word. It was so welcome. Plant a white rose bush. My neighbors did that, too and then the man from the garden center came to show me how to care for it in the fall.
Water the flowers at the cemetery. When I heard of people who did that for me, I was so grateful.

If you are really close, you could offer to wash her car and then put gas in it. Later on, take her out for a meal or ask her to join you on a walk. Have masses said for her spouse. Drive her to church. Call just to say, "hi." Stop in with tea.

You are a sweetheart to want to help out.

01/08/2013 new
(Quote) Kathy-635104 said: I usually tell people to bring soup in the beginning. It is so hard to eat and the meals delivered were heavy p...
(Quote) Kathy-635104 said:

I usually tell people to bring soup in the beginning. It is so hard to eat and the meals delivered were heavy pasta dishes that I couldn't even swallow. A homemade soup is plain goodness. Also, it is difficult to shop, so if someone could offer to run errands, that would help. A neighbor took my daughter shopping for dresses for the wake and funeral and it was so appreciated. Just going to sit and listen. Bring tissues, don't ask them what they need. The only thing you can think of needing is your spouse.

Someone to help with oil changes is a definite godsend, as is someone that cuts the grass or shovels snow without being asked. Ask her what she misses most, say his name, it is music to our ears. If there are young children, take them for a bike ride, shoot some hoops with them, play a game or catch.

I remember sitting outside, numb, watching my kids dance in the sprinklers. A friend saw me and just came and sat, not saying a word. It was so welcome. Plant a white rose bush. My neighbors did that, too and then the man from the garden center came to show me how to care for it in the fall.
Water the flowers at the cemetery. When I heard of people who did that for me, I was so grateful.

If you are really close, you could offer to wash her car and then put gas in it. Later on, take her out for a meal or ask her to join you on a walk. Have masses said for her spouse. Drive her to church. Call just to say, "hi." Stop in with tea.

You are a sweetheart to want to help out.

--hide--


When I lost my son one of the ladies from my parish that had lost her son in law in 2006 showed up with buckets of chicken for my family. The first thing she did for me was to take me to one side and just hugged me, then she talked for just a bit. I will always remember the kindness shown me and my family by friends whether they were from church, work or otherwise.....
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