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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

Jan 8th 2013 new

Another thing that really blessed me was receiving a book called "Grace For Grief" by Mike and Brenda Pink. It is a daily devotional that pinpointed exactly how I was feeling. I struggled with wanting to pray, but not knowing where to start as everything was such a fog.

Jan 8th 2013 new

(Quote) Gary-918050 said: Katherine - it has been six years for me (six years this February), so the kindness a...
(Quote) Gary-918050 said:


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.

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You are so right, Gary, about the lessons from being left behind. I've learned that caring enough just to listen can often be the greatest gift. Another great lesson...people are the most important things in life...absolutely the most important.


- Elizabeth

Jan 8th 2013 new

(Quote) Elizabeth-462557 said: You are so right, Gary, about the lessons from being left behind. I've learn...
(Quote) Elizabeth-462557 said:


You are so right, Gary, about the lessons from being left behind. I've learned that caring enough just to listen can often be the greatest gift. Another great lesson...people are the most important things in life...absolutely the most important.


- Elizabeth

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Elizabeth, absolute agree that people and loved ones are the most important things in life. Love ones, family, friends are the first ones we yearn to be with, the ones we miss when apart, and share our joy. It's unfortunate, that not eveyone has someone special in their life. There are many nice people on CM, I pray they all find someone special in 2013. But, then CM would not have anymore subscribers... laughing

Jan 9th 2013 new

Thank you for the suggestions. I'm going to try and go to the second memorial service that the college is doing with her because I don't think she'll know as many people there, I think she'll need extra shoulders there. I'm worried about a few weeks from now, when things are just kind of descending and the people are gone.

Jan 9th 2013 new
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said: Thank you for the suggestions. I'm going to try and go to the second memorial service that the college ...
(Quote) Katherine-868943 said:

Thank you for the suggestions. I'm going to try and go to the second memorial service that the college is doing with her because I don't think she'll know as many people there, I think she'll need extra shoulders there. I'm worried about a few weeks from now, when things are just kind of descending and the people are gone.

--hide--


You are thinking correctly that she will need a shoulder in a few weeks...when it sinks in how much her life has changed......
Jan 9th 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--
For those who know the recent widow well enough, it can be helpful to come right out and ask what's needed. Sometimes a person wants solitude after those stressful days before the funeral. Those days and nights are unsettling, and it takes time for the numbness to wear off whether or not there's anyone else around. The loss of one's husband is an event -- the rest is a process. There are several things that have to be dealt with soon afterward -- estate matters, bank account changes, and so on. It may help to offer to drive her there -- her mind is already preoccupied enough.

Encourage her to go to Church although this is often very difficult. One's emotional state is highly charged and there's a feeling of being alone in a crowd, or a lot of weeping. But it's still helpful to attend Mass and Adoration. What better place to unload some of those emotional burdens? Crying in front of others? So what? It happens frequently.

You don't always know when a person will be trying to take a nap after some sleepless nights, so just dropping in often isn't the best idea.

If the person has children at home, offers can be made to watch them.

But...if a person wants to be left alone, so be it. Peace and quiet can have a calming effect.

Jan 9th 2013 new

The first week is surreal. There is so much to do when all you want to do is hold your kids and cry. I was very fortunate in that a few key people - my parents, cousin and best friend- just jumped in and kept everything somewhat in control. Yes, everyone wants to help, and most are waiting to be asked or told to do something. If you want to help just look for something that needs to be done. I had someone who became the taxi going back and forth to the airport; someone who did the laundry; a couple of neighbors mowed the lawn for most of the summer; someone printed out maps from the house to the church and the hotel where they had reserved a bunch of rooms; someone bought nice outfits for my kids to wear to their mom's funeral.

One of the most helpful things those first couple of weeks were the moms who just came over with their kids so they could play with mine. It took their minds off of the disaster that had just happened and gave me some time to just think. Plus, they made some new friends.

And the food... you never saw so much food. My kitchen looked like Thanksgiving on steroids. Two suggestions: First, don't throw out 'extra' food. Offer it to a local police or fire station. They will be most appreciative. Second, organize a Meal Train at mealtrain.com for meals after that first, insane week. Mealtrain is a free, online scheduling application for exactly this type of situation. For two months friends and co-workers provided meals for me and the kids. I could look at the MealTrain calendar to see who was bringing what and when they were dropping it off. It worked out very well for us.

Depending on the financial acumen of the remaining spouse, they may need a financial advisor or possibly an estate attorney. Maybe do some basic research on local professionals in these fields and provide some recommendations to your friend.

Jan 10th 2013 new

Thank you all for your suggestions.

The other friends (older married couple) helping have located an attorney and a financial advisor for her. I was oddly enough able to convince her to talk to the lawyer because I just had my will and medical papers drawn up because I realized that if anything happened to me my son's future would be at the hands of the state. She's a very intelligent lady and was the one handling most of the bills but there are complications particular to their situation regarding things like green cards. We did get a fund set up at the church so people can "do" something, and we located his vehicle at the wrecking yard.


Jan 10th 2013 new

Katherine,

I was suddenly widowed on a beautiful spring evening last April, when my husband went in to cover an extra shift from another crew on a rig move. Something broke or failed when they were lifting part of the rig floor. My husband was in the subfloor area, had no where to go and no one had made certain he was clear before they started to lift the floor. I am still half way in a fog most days. But, these are the things that helped and continue to help me get through each day.

One friend said to me: there are no words, I'm sorry doesn't cut it, so all I can do is tell you I love you and give you a hug. (BEST BEST WORDS)

Same friend said to me: Your only obligation to all of the other people is to tell them when and where the funeral is and it is up to them to get there etc.

Bring toilet paper, KLEENEX, paper plates and plastic ware. . .brilliant ideas I had never thought of before but helped tremendously, especially the Kleenex and toilet paper.

I knew immediately that the emotions I was experiencing were far beyond my control, the thoughts going through my head were insane and disjointed and bizarre, so I went to my physician immediately and asked her about talking to someone. I immediately began meeting with a counselor and that was both life saving and sanity saving. I was able to just talk about my husband, my pain, my fears, loss, guilt, etc etc and I was able to do so with someone who didn't know my husband, didn't know me. So while the counselor was compassionate and empathetic, I did not have to worry about inflicting my pain on him when he too was grieving.

Talk, talk, talk, tell stories ask people to share their stories of your husband. The absolutely most comforting things have been the stories. I posted on my Facebook page and asked for stories. I received dozens of stories, many I didn't know, that showed just how many people my husband touched, even in small ways -- young, old, friends, colleagues, so many it was beautiful. I go back and reread them.

One of my daughters set up a memorial page for him on Facebook as well and people may go and post there. It's been almost nine months now and the postings have tapered off, but it has become kind of a conduit for me, a place for me to write to him, to talk to him, to talk about our marriage and how things have changed, memories. Love letters if you will from me to him and shared with those who care to see or read.

One of the hardest things for me, was to encounter other people, who were overcome with their own grief at losing him, because I wanted to be able to comfort them and yet my own pain was so incredibly raw.

Also, realize that it will change your status and will change how you interact with your group. My friends have been wonderful and supportive but they often worry that I will get sad during events, or that they have to alter how we do things because suddenly I am the widow in the group. They are doing it in the most loving spirit and mean no harm at all, but it is different.

And, perhaps the hardest thing for me to have managed is this: Grief is an exceptionally powerful demanding entity. It rules you and not the other way around. I am on the whole a pretty private person and I have been horrified more than once because I just burst into tears and CANNOT stop, no matter who is there, no matter where we are and so it has become a lesson in humility. Everyone kept saying to me, don't internalize it, it will only come out in some other damaging way and it always made me want to laugh because this is the first thing in my life that I have been unable to control when it comes to my behavior and emotion. So I finally just accepted that the grief was in contro and let it happen, surviving the mortification of crying in front of people, being emotionally over wrought has in a sense been liberating and healing in its own right.

I hope there are some kernels of helpful info in there. And, big hugs for both you and your friend. I will remember her in my prayers.

Jan 10th 2013 new
(Quote) Lauren-927923 said: Katherine, I was suddenly widowed on a beautiful spring evening last April, when my husband wen...
(Quote) Lauren-927923 said:

Katherine,



I was suddenly widowed on a beautiful spring evening last April, when my husband went in to cover an extra shift from another crew on a rig move. Something broke or failed when they were lifting part of the rig floor. My husband was in the subfloor area, had no where to go and no one had made certain he was clear before they started to lift the floor. I am still half way in a fog most days. But, these are the things that helped and continue to help me get through each day.



One friend said to me: there are no words, I'm sorry doesn't cut it, so all I can do is tell you I love you and give you a hug. (BEST BEST WORDS)



Same friend said to me: Your only obligation to all of the other people is to tell them when and where the funeral is and it is up to them to get there etc.



Bring toilet paper, KLEENEX, paper plates and plastic ware. . .brilliant ideas I had never thought of before but helped tremendously, especially the Kleenex and toilet paper.



I knew immediately that the emotions I was experiencing were far beyond my control, the thoughts going through my head were insane and disjointed and bizarre, so I went to my physician immediately and asked her about talking to someone. I immediately began meeting with a counselor and that was both life saving and sanity saving. I was able to just talk about my husband, my pain, my fears, loss, guilt, etc etc and I was able to do so with someone who didn't know my husband, didn't know me. So while the counselor was compassionate and empathetic, I did not have to worry about inflicting my pain on him when he too was grieving.



Talk, talk, talk, tell stories ask people to share their stories of your husband. The absolutely most comforting things have been the stories. I posted on my Facebook page and asked for stories. I received dozens of stories, many I didn't know, that showed just how many people my husband touched, even in small ways -- young, old, friends, colleagues, so many it was beautiful. I go back and reread them.



One of my daughters set up a memorial page for him on Facebook as well and people may go and post there. It's been almost nine months now and the postings have tapered off, but it has become kind of a conduit for me, a place for me to write to him, to talk to him, to talk about our marriage and how things have changed, memories. Love letters if you will from me to him and shared with those who care to see or read.



One of the hardest things for me, was to encounter other people, who were overcome with their own grief at losing him, because I wanted to be able to comfort them and yet my own pain was so incredibly raw.



Also, realize that it will change your status and will change how you interact with your group. My friends have been wonderful and supportive but they often worry that I will get sad during events, or that they have to alter how we do things because suddenly I am the widow in the group. They are doing it in the most loving spirit and mean no harm at all, but it is different.



And, perhaps the hardest thing for me to have managed is this: Grief is an exceptionally powerful demanding entity. It rules you and not the other way around. I am on the whole a pretty private person and I have been horrified more than once because I just burst into tears and CANNOT stop, no matter who is there, no matter where we are and so it has become a lesson in humility. Everyone kept saying to me, don't internalize it, it will only come out in some other damaging way and it always made me want to laugh because this is the first thing in my life that I have been unable to control when it comes to my behavior and emotion. So I finally just accepted that the grief was in contro and let it happen, surviving the mortification of crying in front of people, being emotionally over wrought has in a sense been liberating and healing in its own right.



I hope there are some kernels of helpful info in there. And, big hugs for both you and your friend. I will remember her in my prayers.

--hide--
you will be in my prayers, so sorry for your loss
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