Taken from From One Widow to Another, ©2009 by Miriam Neff. Used with permission of Moody Publishers.
- Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Do not assume we need ‘space’ to grieve.
- Please do say you are sorry for our loss. We would rather you tell us you do not know what to say than tell us your story of losing your friend or even a close relative. We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. Do not tell us you understand.
- Do call and ask specifically, “Can we go for a walk together? May I run errands for you? Meet you for coffee?” Do not say, “Call me if you need anything.”
- Do refer to our husband’s acts or words – serious or humorous. We are so comforted by knowing our husband has not been forgotten. Do not leave our husbands out of the conversation.
- Invite us to anything. We may decline but will appreciate being asked. Do not assume we no longer want to participate in couples events.
- Do accept that we are where we are. Marriages are brief, long, healthy, dysfunctional, intense, remote. Death comes suddenly or in tiny increments over years. Again our experiences are so different, as are we. So is our journey through grief. Do not assume we go through the outlined grief process ‘by the book.’
- Walk the talk. Do not make ‘conversation only’ offers. “We’ll call you and we’ll go out to dinner.” – and then not follow up. Yes, we are sensitive in our grieving, but we’d rather hear you say, “I’ve been thinking of you.” than make a ‘conversation only’ offer.
Do refer to our husband’s acts or words – serious or humorous.