"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27
How to Help Out a New Widow
Just had a classmate pass away over the weekend. May I give some tips to help a widow since I am one. Please re-think the plant thing. I did get some plants that I could plant outside, but most of the plants I got had to go to someone else after the funeral. I just didn't have room for them and I honestly don't do indoor plants. (One more thing to take care of) If she has children at home, she can't feed them a plant! Send some cash or a gift card so she can go out to eat when she just can't bring herself to fix even a pb and j. If she does have life insurance, it can take 3 months to even get the insurance and she has been living on a 2 incomes and is down to one, she needs time to adjust to that. If the widow doesn't work outside the house and has to wait on an insurance check, she will have to live on her credit cards. That is could be scaring and the funeral home wants their money in 30 days!!
A funeral is like a thunderstorm, everyone rushes in to "be there and help" until the funeral is over and everyone else goes home to their "normal lives". So here are somethings you can do following the passing of your friends: Go mow her lawn for the rest of the summer and fall! Pull weeds for her when she is not home. Send her another card to go eat out even if you already sent one. Ask her over for dinner. Men (and some gals), if she needs her car fixed, or something in the house that you have skills, offer and tell her you will change the oil for her or if something breaks, tell her to call you. If you have the money to pay for it yourself...do it. Just ask once in a while if something needs fixed. Everything her hubby used to do, she now has to add to her schedule and it is over-whelming (even 3 years later). If she has children, do something with the children. On holidays, make sure she has somewhere to go. Remember his birthday and send a text. Basically, she is in a new place and she didn't ask for it. God gave it to her and it is a long journey to figure out the "new normal". Help, help, help do the things you are good at to help the new widow. If she will let you come clean the house and wash the sheets a few times. Ask when you can come do it. Let her talk and talk about her "beloved husband", she needs that. You can ask her what she misses most about him being gone. Guy friends, always give an appropriate hug to a widow, she now has no physical touch from her husband. Be her friend and speak to her. If she has sons and they are grown and now no husband, it is nice to talk to men because they just don't talk about "girl things". Talk to the children (young and older), ask how they are processing things. They hurt too and most people forget to engage them in conversation about how they are doing and just talk to the mom.
Here are a couple of "don'ts". Don't ask her every day how she is. Ask her what she has been up to and on an occasion ask how she is doing "today" because the mood can change hourly sometimes. Don't text her everyday unless you already do that. Don't say "he is in a better place". Don't say, "call if you need something." Ask, "when can I come vacuum", "when can I come mow", "when can I come bring dinner and stay and eat", when does your car need an oil change, I will come get it and have it done or do it myself."
Please share this with your friends...we need to change the "send a plant" and send some real help instead. Trust me, I have done the other, but now I am on the other side and would like to help educate others who might like to know.
By Rhonda Schueren