After the fabulous RLEE told me I was the hottest WILF in the room—at the funeral—he followed up with, “That’s probably one of the Top Ten Things Not To Say To A New Widow.”
Well, a little longer into widowhood, there’s been more than ten. But it sounds better as a Top Ten list, so here’s the top ones for me. These are some of the things that get said, how they get heard and what we can do to make this a little easier for each other.
For the friends: these may have blurted out from you to the bereaved, or you’ve wondered what on earth to say or do for your newly widowed friend. I know there’s lots of things I didn’t understand until after I was widowed. Unless you were downright thoughtless or cruel, whatever you said or did is generally OK. Why should we know exactly the right thing to do, because after all, who knows the right thing to do about death? The answer: no one. But we all face it at some point, perhaps we can help each other out a bit.
For the widowed: think of these as a primer for what you’re going to hear (and I promise, you will) and how to grin-and-bear-it when you do. For the most part, they mean well. It’s hard, but try to look for the love behind the silly comments.
- The Big One: or “If there’s anything you need, let me know.”
- As Time Goes By or “How long are you going to drag out this widow thing”?
- Hearse Chasing 101 How’s that life insurance policy working for you or “Did he leave you enough money”?
- At Least You Got It All. “I just got divorced so I know how you feel.”
- Good Luck With Your Next Fifty Years. “So-and-so lost their spouse years ago and they’re still not over it.”
- My Death Is Better Than Your Death. One-upping the newly bereaved.
- Get Back On That Horse or “When are you going to start dating”?
- What About Me? “You were prepared for his death, but I was shocked by it!”
- Well, Aren’t You The Merry Widow? “You’re so brave”!
- The Sound of Silence: The sin of not saying anything at all