June 23, 2009,
A.S. asks from Idaho Falls, ID on June 21, 2009
Dear Friends Husband Died How Do I Help?
I have a dear friend whose husband was killed in a motorcycle accident this past weekend and i don't know what to do to help. Our boys are good friends but it has been a few months since we have done anything together so I don't know how to offer help or if I should call or just attend the funeral. I am at a complete loss of how to help at this time. She is now a widow at 25 with boys that are 4 and 2 and another baby on the way, I just need some advice of what to do to let her know I care! Thanks for your help.
J.C. answers from Provo on June 22, 2009
Just be there, today,tomorrow,next week, next month, and next year. Everybody hovers the first couple of weeks but then they move on with their lives and forget that the little things are really hard, Fathers day, 4th of July, kids birthday.
D.C. answers from Denver on June 22, 2009
Maybe you can offer to come over and help her around the house, take her and the kids out for pizza, or just drop off some goodies?
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on June 22, 2009
Offer to watch her kids so she can get all the arrangements taken care of, and any other time she might need. Let her know that you are there for her when she's ready to talk, but don't push her to talk. Be a shoulder to cry on. And I think it's never wrong to ask her what help she needs.
J.D. answers from Denver on June 22, 2009
Two additional comments from friends who lost spouses recently. The first did not need food for the first few weeks because that's when everyone came by. She really saw a need after the first month. I set up an account at a prepared meals company so that she could just pick out food and they would deliver it to her. It really helped. Another friend, despite all the lasagnas, cakes, and other foods that were brought, just wanted soup. I brought her soup and it was the one thing she ate that week. The other suggestions are all great--including offering to take her kids for some outings. Good for you for being there. All the best.
K.L. answers from Great Falls on June 22, 2009
Just knock on the door and give her a hug....to start. When I was 16 I lost my high school boyfriend in a motorcycle accident. I know I can't imagine what it must be like to lose your husband and father to 3 children that way, but I do know what the shock feels like. I may have only been 16, but no one is too old or too young to feel the full impact of an accident like that. And that's just it....it's an accident, not something that anyone can predict, explain or expect. She is probably feeling a torrent of emotions right now. Even if you haven't seen her in awhile, you are still her friend. Don't try to give her advice, don't try to tell her it will all be ok, just let her cry or yell or scream or whatever it is she needs to do. When the time comes that she is ready to start talking about him, smiling about things that happened or joking about something he might have said you might be able to add to that laughter with memories of your own. Also, her children are young and probably don't understand what is happening. Even an hour playing with other children might bring back some normalcy to them and keep your friend from feeling any guilt over not being able to give them their normal routines right now. Good luck and your friend is in my prayers.
D.C. answers from Denver on June 22, 2009
I am so sorry to hear that. Home cooked meals are the best. When my fiance died, I didn't even get up off the couch for two weeks. I didn't have kids then either. Anything to help with household was helpful for me. People walked my dogs and cleaned my house. That was such a blessing.
T.C. answers from Colorado Springs on June 23, 2009
I am so sorry for your friend's loss. This truly will be a trying time for her and her children. I have a dear friend who walked this path 18 months ago. She has a blog where she has journaled her journey. I would highly recommend that you read it and direct it to her in a few weeks. Many widows have contacted my friend, Heather, who is able to bless them so much. I just held a ladies' tea yesterday where Heather was one of my speakers. Here's the blog address, which will take you to the month of her husband's death: http://lazydranch8.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html
For practical things, you can be there for you. Heather shared that 2 women put a hedge around her to guard her from the stupid things well-intentioned people say (like, "I know how you feel, my dog died."). These women would just show up at her house and bring her a drink from Starbucks. Or, they would ask her what she had to do (SS Admin paperwork appts, etc), and then tell her that they were taking her to the appt. She needs someone with her for these things. Heather said she always felt like she didn't need someone to be with her until she was actually there. Then, she'd break down in grief and was so thankful to have someone there. The ladies who ministered to her in these ways were not necessarily her "best friends" before he died, but they have become so now. I say that so that you don't feel like you can't go to her with these ideas because you haven't talked to her in awhile. Be there, pray for and with her, bring her treats out of the blue, bring her dinner. Heather also said the dinner hour was the toughest of the entire day because he wasn't going to be there for the normal nightly routine with the kids. Anyway, I hope this helps you to minister to your friend.
H.J. answers from Pocatello on June 21, 2009
A.- Be there. Take her a simple meal to pop in the oven and just be there for her. If she isn't wanting company she will tell you.
Ring the door bell and just say hello and give her a hug. Maybe offer to take her children for a few hours to a park...people in trama rarely remember what others said or did, but they remember who was there.
D.G. answers from Grand Junction on June 23, 2009
I lost a husband at 28 with a 2 year old son to raise. It was harrowing. This woman is younger with two young ones and one on the way! She will be completely numb for a long time. So it will seem that she is doing alright but she is not. First, most people don't know what to do or are afraid to get involved. The latter is a real concern because you are entering a person's life when they will be the most needy. Decide what you can do from a time and commitment standpoint. Then take those two younger boys as often as is ok for you and your family. Take them around a mealtime so she does not have to worry about this herself. She needs time to think, process, and grieve. Joan Didon just wrote a book (name escapes me now) on losing her husband. She is older and was able to spend a lifetime with this man but the process is the same. It was very healing for me 28 years after my loss. When your friend is ready, she might look into the many grief groups that congregate all over this country. We do not like to let people grieve or be weak in this country. She needs to go somewhere where the others are like her. And what a kind friend you are to want to help. Remember, once again, do what works for you and no more. It does not do you or her any good to feel resentful (not that you would but you have your own obligations) for a good deed. Maybe you could arrange with other friends to spread this around so it does not all fall on you. I wish for the days when a tribe of women would step up and help one another through tough times. The very best to you, A. S!
C.C. answers from Denver on June 23, 2009
My advice would be to just go there. Offer to take the kids for an hour, do the dishes, wash some clothes, etc. Don't go to visit so much as to do the little things that keeping a house require. Many people will just attend the funeral, she needs many hands to help maintain right now.
M.P. answers from Boise on June 22, 2009
This is going to be a very hard time for her. I became a widow at age 20 with a 2 and a half year old daughter and a 8 day old son. Their dad was also killed in a car accident. There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for something like this. The best thing anyone did for me was to be there for me when every thing was over and every body went on with their normal lives. Be sure to go to the funeral to show your support and let her know you are available to help in any way possible that includes baby sitting when she feels over whelmed or if she just needs someone to listen while she talks.
Also a good way to help would be to offer to take her kids for the day, let them play with your kids, this way she wont feel like she is just handing them over because she can't handle them along with everything that is going on. As i am sure you know, moms think they can handle every thing even in situations like this.
Just remember every body deals with this differently, I quit my job, didn't go out anywhere with any of my friends and just took care of my kids. In essence, I really just stopped living. Make sure you are there for her on the day she decides she wants to live again.
I know this probably doesn't help a ton but I think those are the most important things. Be there when everyone has forgot how much she is hurting. The pain last longer than anyone will ever know. My husband will be gone four years on the 26th of this month and there are still days that I just need to talk to someone about him.
Make the suggestion that she takes the kids to family counsiling also, this helped my daughter with questions she had, even as young as two they still have questions and some times its easier for them to ask someone that isn't hurting as much as they are.
I hope this helps even a little. Your friend is in my prayers. let her know if she needs to talk or if you have any more questions my e mail is ____@____.com you can e mail me anytime about anything.