As an overwhelmed and unexpected widow, I had no idea how to respond to the heart given cry “call me if you need anything”.
I, of course, had no idea what I would need or how much my life was about to change.
During the first month or so I was so fortunate to be gifted with gift cards, friend visits and even meals. Being surrounded by loved ones and keeping busy is helpful. But after those first few weeks, most people return to their regular lives and the new widow is beginning to adjust to her new normal.
For many people experiencing the loss of a loved one, moments of grief continue to surprise us. More and more stories are being shared of how lonely people are after the loss of a family member. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, loneliness is even more prevalent. As people age and find it harder to leave the home, life can become even more lonely.
I have written about fighting the fear or the reality of being a sad and lonely widow How to NOT be a Stay at Home, Lonely Widow. But I am a young 58 year old and I am determined to enjoy my life and continue to experience all I can and find joy in each day.
That being said, I remember how when I was in my saddest moments, the kindness and unexpected notes, meals or even comments on Facebook, really made my day.
When our kids were little, we always participated in a program at our church called Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s Purse. The kids and I would shop and then excitedly fill a few shoeboxes with hygiene items, toys, school supplies, and a clean shirt to send to children in need.
This project has delivered 157 million shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world and put smiles on children in tough times.
Which makes me think about our newly devastated widows and widowers.
Holidays are the absolute worst, especially that first holiday. But anniversaries, birthdays and the date our loved ones passed are hard too. Mother’s day is coming up and that can be painful for some people.
And did you know National Widow’s Day is May 3rd? What a great way to reach out to someone you know and remind them that you remember their late spouse!
No matter how it may look to you on the outside, your friend who lost a loved one is often thinking about that person and their old life.
The tears and depression are bound to visit. Tough memories, guilt and the unfairness of it all sneak into our consciousness and sadness can be overwhelming.
But as friends, we can do something about this.
So many people visit the funeral home, the wake, and the memorial service. We are sad and offer condolences. Sometimes, we even offer to help in any way we can. The words come out, but we are not even sure what we are asking to do. If you need anything, call me. I have addressed this comment here too: How to comfort your widowed friend.
Last year I started to send care packages to women I know who experienced the loss of a husband. Nothing crazy expensive, just something to show you care. It happened to me and so I understand.
I sent a note. A heartfelt, handwritten note. Not just a sympathy card.
Then I added a few things in a shoebox I thought that I would appreciate.
How to fill the gift shoebox:
A heartfelt, handwritten note. Not just a sympathy card.
A nice smelling candle
A book for widows (10 Best Grief Books)
Pleasant-smelling hand cream
Fuzzy flip flops
Sudoku/ crossword book
Dunkin donuts or Starbucks gift carde
Pretty coffee mug
Happy sign for inspiration
Unfortunately, I will be making a few more of these this year. I am sure you can use your imagination and think of even more awesome ideas for our widowed friends. Believe me, acknowledging a widow will really be appreciated.