So you've been widowed.I'm sorry you are hurting. My heartfelt condolences to you and those you love.
The Top Ten Things
A list of the top ten things not to say to a new widow… and the top ten things you can do for your surviving loved one (and perhaps yourself).
It’s been more than ten years since I have been widowed. What does it look like to rebuild?
Shortly after John died, a friend came over to the house and said with honest anguish, “I don’t know what to do as your friend. How can I best help you?” I didn’t know what to tell her. I had no idea and truthfully I did not know what I needed, what would help me at the time. There’s no road map. But having experienced some things a young(ish) widow goes through, I thought perhaps if I could share my own story and observations, they might help other people who are experiencing the loss of their partner and/or friend.
The Incomparable RLEE called me “the hottest WILF I know”. At the funeral, no less. After we finished laughing, he followed it up with “That’s probably one of the Top Ten Things Not To Say To A New Widow.” Hence, the inspiration for this site, based on my experiences on being a widow, which is the inevitable outcome of being—and staying—in love. It’s not a guidebook. I only know how I feel about being a widow and how I’ve been dealing with it. You’ll need to find your own path. We’re all lost in this particular world. The only ones who do know are dead and they ain’t talking.
This how I coped with loss and found a new life. These are some of the astounding and loving ways everyone around me makes my new life possible. And perhaps some ideas for what you can do when death happens around you. Which it will.
If you’ve lost your partner, there’s the Being The Widow category. I ruminate on coping with death and loss and share things about being single again in Newly Single? Surprise! And something I wish I had known more about when I was newly widowed was things people say to you. I would have appreciated bracing for a few of the doozies. (They really happen!) I might have been more open to the depth of feeling hidden behind the words had I been expecting them. I hope it helps you see the kindness behind the awkwardness.
If your friend has been widowed, go here first. Read it and do it. For more, there’s a Being The Widow’s Friend category. Look around and see what resonates with you.
Everything here is written in the straight man/woman marriage, feminine form, such as “she”, “widow” and “husband”. You can alter it however best fits your needs. John and I did not have children, so I don’t speak to being a newly-alone parent. I can’t even imagine how to get through all that. If you are, I hope you’ll start a blog to help others like you.
Most importantly please, if you’re in too much anguish or feel so overwhelmed you can’t go on—seek professional help immediately. It really does help to talk to the pros to get you through the darkest times. Believe me, I’m no professional anything. Go to the ones who know how to help: talk with your doctor, clergyman, therapist, support group… whatever gets you through.
Everything here is solely from my point of view so don’t get your tail in a bunch if it’s not in line with your philosophy. It’s for sure not going to be in line with your experience. I recognize it genuinely helps to know there are others out there sharing your journey and to know you are not alone. And I also know the Internet is meant for commenting. But I’ve turned all commenting off. Why? I don’t want to see any kind of trolling, name calling, angry rants or for that matter, anything at all that might make somebody else feel bad in any way whatsoever. The internet is a big place, this site is a small safe place. The smallest thing can tip a person trying to right themselves. And it’s my site dagnabbit. So this is simply my own perspective on being a widow.
Each of us ultimately walks this path alone. But there is a lot of love out there for you to gather strength from in order to make that walk less lonely.
Yours with deep sympathy,