When someone loses their spouse, it can feel like they lost a part of themselves. If they had children together, the surviving spouse now has to figure out how to live life as a single parent. If not, they have to learn how to live on their own. Along with processing their grief, the loss can lead to a lot of stress and uncertainty.
That’s why as a friend, it’s up to you to be a part of their support system. Having someone they can count on makes all the difference. Below are a few ways you can help a grieving friend who lost their spouse and make their healing journey a little easier.
Just Be There
Whether or not your grieving friend is ready to talk about the death of their partner, it’s important that you are present during their loss. Let them know you’re there to listen or to be a distraction, whatever they need at the time.
If they need some alone time to process things, don’t go MIA. Continue to check in with them. Even if you don’t get an immediate response, they will open up to you when they’re ready.
Help with Chores
Life doesn’t pause when someone dies. Bills pile up, the dog needs to be fed, and the kids continue to make messes. Don’t simply ask what you can do for your grieving friend. They may be in too much of a fog to know what to say. Instead, have them make a list of all of the things they need to get done. Then, divvy up the tasks amongst your friends.
Offer to Watch the Kids
Between taking care of their everyday tasks, planning a funeral, and processing their feelings, parents who lost their spouse don’t get enough time for themselves.
Offer to watch the kids to give your friend time to collect themselves. And this doesn’t mean just the month after their loss. They will continue to feel overwhelmed at times, so taking care of their kids for a few hours will be much appreciated.
Right after the loss, plenty of people will send meals home to your friend. However, a few months later, the meals will start to dwindle but the pain will still be there. That’s where you come in.
Ask your friend for a list of their family’s favorite meals, and then periodically cook for them. Freezer-friendly meals are even better. That way when things become too hectic, they can just pop the meal in the oven.
Talk it Out
When your friend is ready, talk to them about their spouse. Before their death, you two probably had conversations about their partner, so why should that end?
Talk about their grief. Talk about memories you have with their spouse. Talk about the future. Avoiding these topics is only going to make it harder for them to continue forward.
Have your friends helped you through a loss? Share some of the most impactful things they did in the comments below.