Family Friend Just Lost Her Husband :(

Updated on June 26, 2010
A.F. asks from Garland, TX
17 answers

I am so saddened by this, the couple was in their early 30's, have a 2 yr old and 9 yr old daughter (the daughter was his step but he raised her like his own) he was such a great man. They were so in love, even had their own home business together so they could devote more time together and to their family. They were married a few years ago but never had a honeymoon and we're fixing to head out for a honeymoon vacation in the next week and now he's gone. He was found dead in their home early morning, cause of death is still unknown.

He was not a drug user, drinker or anything like that, just an all around great loving person that cared deeply for his family. I can't stop thinking about her and worrying. I've sent her messages letting her know how much I care and am here for her but I'm not sure what else I can do, I've never been in this situation, it truly breaks my heart. I can't imagine losing my husband, especially so young.
Any advice from those who've been there or know someone that has?
Thanks Moms!

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answers from Denver on

The next 2-3 weeks will be so busy for her with family, friends, well meaning people, funeral home representatives. It will be a's the next month, two months and especially 4-6 months out which will be the absolute toughest. It's after all the well meaning friends leave and are afraid to call again. The funeral is over, so no one calls to discuss 'plans'. It's when life is beginning to go back to the routine of going back to normal when nothing feels like it will ever be normal again.

My advice is to be there for her in a few weeks. Take her out for a walk, take the kids out, make plans for a dinner or lunch. Be consistent and there for her as she enters the grieving process.

So sorry for the loss.

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answers from Dallas on

I lost my husband when I was 48 (he was 52)...that was 11 years ago. Susan T. gave you the best advice I could ever have given you. Just be there for her after everything is over with and everyone has gone about their life. That's when she will really need you. You are a good friend. I wish I had had someone like you 11 years ago.

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answers from Dallas on

I am not sure how close a friend she was, but I'd make the effort if she's close (in distance) to go to her house and do what ever it is she needs. Ask her if she wants dishes done, a bed made, a meal fixed. Sit with her without saying anything. There are no words that will make this better for her and sometimes just "being" is the only thing you can offer and sometimes the best.

My brother in law committed suicide. The ONLY thing I could do was fix, cook and clean and take phone calls and make phone calls and try and do what ever it was I could...

My condolences to your friend and her family on their loss.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

How terrible :(

I agree with offering to help with the kiddos. My biggest piece of 2-3 weeks make a few meals and still call. When my husband lost his dad, he said the hardest part was that after the inital influx of calls/visitors/food it all just stopped and everyone went back to their own lives. Which of course has to happen, but it was a really hard adjustment.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with posters who said be there in the next few weeks. Right now she will be so overwhelmed with help, dinners, etc. In a few weeks she will have to try to somehow get back into a 'normal' routine for her kids and that is going to be really hard.

Have them over for dinner, get her to go out and walk with you or share your babysitter and go to a chick flick movie with her- anything to keep her in the loop of her daily life. Offer to babysit the kids if she needs to deal with attorney's appointments or things like that.

if you or your husband are handy around the house, offer to help her with upkeep- lawn mowing, little repairs, etc. Or better yet, just quietly do them. Say " Oh, I already had the mower out- it was no trouble to do your lawn too." or " I was nailing up that board and remembered that your fencepost was loose so I just thought I'd take care of that for you"

Don't make it a big deal- just be present and good neighbors. I'm so sorry for your friend's loss.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

We had a neighbor who lost her husband recently after a 5 year battle with stage IV colo-rectal cancer:

I was diagnosed with cancer while he was preparing to go to Europe to receive treatments not available in the US. His death hit me hard.

But, it's different because his prognosis was poor from the beginning, and they had time to anticipate their lives once he passed. Not that anyone can prepare, but sometimes, I think it's easier to anticipate how you may react.

A good friend lost his wife to a seizure (cause unknown) a few years ago. They did not have kids. They were each other's lives. He was on the phone with her, got off, got home ~20 minutes later, and she was on the floor dead. We also have a former co-worker whose 20-something year old wife went to bed sick one night (flu like symptoms) and was found dead by her husband the next morning - he'd slept in another room to avoid getting sick that night.

Stories like these make us realize how precious each day is and how fragile all of our lives are.

Time is the only thing that heals wounds.
I'd ask her what she needs - she may not know. But, be there for her today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now.

If you can do little things like taking care of mowing the yard, running errands, getting gift cards for restaurants so she doesn't have to cook, watching the kids (take them fun places) so she can grieve and tend to affairs, those are the small things that may not be recognized but make a huge impact.

Good luck in helping her transition into her new life. I hope she mourns quickly and remembers him fondly.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

My first thought would be to make some meals for her family and take them to her. It's such a small gesture yet is one less important thing for her family she needs to think about right now. You could also offer to take the kids for however long she needs in a day whether she needs to be alone or to deal with things. On the other hand, she may not want to be away from them. You'll have to see how she feels.

How awful. :( It just goes to prove you can't put things off to tomorrow thinking you'll just do it later because you have plenty of time. Unfortunately, none of us are guaranteed a specific amount of time here. I feel awful for her because I know how devestated I would be if I lost my husband. He's my best friend. :(

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My mom lost her hubby several years ago and it is TOUGH when it's a blindside. My advice is based on what my mom appreciated and what she has done for others who have lost a spouse.
Just be there if you can. I'm sure her mind is totally consumed with grief for her husband right now. She may want to talk, she may not right now. Follow her lead. What you CAN do is think of stuff that will make her life a bit easier right now as far as "details". For example, make them some dinners & just drop off after a quick call to make sure she's there. Buy her a basket of fresh fruit for her & her kids. Bake something for the kids & just drop it off. The last thing she probably wants to deal with is cooking, etc. If you were very close friends, and you think she'd appreciate it, go and get her laundry, do it and return it clean & folded. Get her a gift card for the grocery store, etc.
It's easy to tend to avoid grieving people but what they need most is support and a kind listening ear--when they are ready.
She is most likely unable to talk about it yet. Once she is out of the severest form of grief, she may reach out to you more, but for now, think of yourself as her little elf-angel doing kind, practical deeds. She'll love you for it. You're a good friend.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

When my son died I read lots of books on grieving the loss of a child. It did seem to help me because at the time I felt so alone but reading others stories of coping with the same loss made me realize I wasn't so alone. Since then I have bought books that have been very much appreciated by the people I have given them to. Unfortunately, I have bought books now for others regarding coping with the death of a brother, a sister, a husband and a child. Once again these books were extremely appreciated. Also, it may help if you read the book before giving it to her to give yourself a better perspective of what she may be going through.
God bless your friend and her children. She is lucky to have you in her life.

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answers from Dallas on

It's a terrible, terrible situation to have to endure. My best friend was only 34 when she lost her husband 2 years ago. He simply had a heart attack at work and was gone immediately; she was left to raise their 2 boys (then 18 mos. and 3 1/2). I wasn't sure what to do at first so I kind of just let her take the lead and tell me. For one, I made sure that I was just "there" at first. After her boys were in bed that night, I went over and just sat with her. Sometimes, we didn't say anything. But, mostly, she talked...about memories, how unfair it was, the details of the day, the future, etc. Just really speaking her heart and sharing what was on her mind. And she needed that.

After that, it was going by to visit - keeping her and the boys busy and being there for them. Babysitting. Taking in meals (even a month later). Sending notes and flowers to let her know that we were still thinking about her and hadn't forgotten. Others did housecleaning and helping her organize finances/bills, etc.

The advice about really stepping up and being there in a few weeks and/or a few months from now is great. That is when the reality of all that has occurred will sink in.

I know you feel helpless but just trust that your friend knows you are there and will let you know when she needs help. Just keep checking with her because she might not outright call you so you might have to call her. Things are going to be crazy with her for a while now so just be there to help her straighten things out. Good luck! Lots of prayers helped too. :)

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answers from Dallas on

I lost my husband unexpectedly when I was 27 and he was 31. He had a massive heart attack while he was sleeping - we had found out 10 days before then that I was pregnant. It's a very hard thing to go through and I probably wouldn't have made it if I hadn't been pregnant - I knew that I had to take care of my baby. You never quite get over it - my baby is now 25 and I still cry sometimes when I talk about his dad.

You've been given a lot of good advice here and one thing that meant so much to me was having a very good friend who just listened - for months, she just listened to me talk about anything and everything. To this day I don't think she realizes how important that was to me. People do tend to not mention the person's name or not ask about him, but it's important that they do and that she gets to talk about him. It helps a great deal in the healing process.

She will probably be in a daze for a while, so someone to just come in and take charge of something - taking the kids or doing whatever she needs done - will be a big help. She has a lot of important decisions to make and it's going to be hard for her to accomplish day-to-day things. Just try to remember that she will need to talk for a long time after this, when other people will think she's supposed to be over it. Grief counseling would be a good thing for her to do when she's ready - I would encourage her to go. You're a good friend to be concerned about her. If she has other good friends like you and you know them, I would encourage them to not withdraw from her. Sometimes when you're no longer part of a couple, the couples will stop inviting you to do things, which leaves you even more alone.

Once her family leaves, she will need the support of her friends. It gets very lonely with just children to talk to. Good luck and God bless you!

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answers from Dallas on

This happened to my friend years ago. I remembered important dates even a year later so I could be sensitive to her moods. She also needed lots of distractions like movies and activities to keep from sinking too low. (I checked content beforehand to make sure the movie didn't have any widows.) Not everything has to be direct communication - notes, vmails are good too.



answers from Dallas on

Be there for her, pray for her cry with her. When her family leaves to go back home is when you will be some of the best help ever. Go clean house do laundry grocery shopping whatever. Let her talk as she needs too.



answers from Casper on

JUST BE THERE FOR HER!!!! You will then be able to see "what needs to be done".

Short story....The night I lost my husband, just 2 weeks before I turned 25 (he was 27), my girlfriend came to my house. I don't remember what was said, but I know it wasn't much. BUT I DO REMEMBER SHE WAS THERE! I really don't remember much of the time after his death till weeks later...BUT I DO REMEMBER WHO WAS THERE!!! All this was 33 years ago!!

My advise...BE THERE!



answers from San Antonio on

You said you have sent her messages, I would call her. make dinners for her and her kids. Dont just tell her you'll be there for her show her.



answers from Dallas on

I know that I lost my daughter at 5 months of pregnancy and I can only advice on the process of grief. I am so sorry to hear about your friend losing her husband! Let me tell you though that you showing how much you care through letters, cooking, and emails are significant even though your friend may not have the strength to express her thanks. It's been 8 months since my husband and I lost our girl and most people stopped showing they cared or remembered our daughter. However, we STILL need all the encouragement we can get...My point is that you're doing the right thing and I would encourage you to keep gently reminding her for the next 12 months or longer that you care even though there is nothing you can do at this moment. Maybe later she will take your offer to help out with anything such as babysitting, etc.
There is also a nonprofit organization that I heard about for practical services:

Hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

Just let her know that you will help her in any way you can. If it's watching the kids for her to have some her time, making meals for her, or just being there to hug her. My dad was 61 when we lost him and that was hard I can't imagin being younger. Friends where a great comfort to my entire family. She is lucky to have a friend that cares like you!!

Good luck and God Bless!

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