Understanding A Widow
Behind My KeyBoard
Still He Walked
Things Not To Say To A Widow
Coping With Widowhood
Widowhood - A Life Disrupted
How To Be A Widow's Friend
What A Widow Needs
Understanding A Widow
Being A Widow During The Holidays
Surviving The Holidays If You Are Widowed
The Invisible Wife And Mom
What A Marriage Should Be
Women Have Strengths That Amaze...
Boomer Babes Rock
Keep Your Sense Of Humor
Our Christian Founding Fathers
Nancy Ward - A Cherokee Warrior
The Cherokee In Kentucky
The Trail of Tears
In Honor Of All Of Our Veterans
In Honor Of Our Vietnam Veterans
Safety Tips For ALL Women
Reflections In Music


      New widows need to talk about their pain


It is most important for friends and relatives to know, and understand, that grievers in general  are totally consumed with themselves: their own feelings, their needs, their memories, their safety, their finances, their fears, their marriage, their pain, their loneliness, their survival. They need to talk and think about all these things for hours on end, for days on end, maybe weeks on end. It is very difficult for them to focus on subjects outside their own realm. They probably can't worry about the PTA bake sale or about Suzie and Joe's marital problems, or the price of gasoline, or politics, or how to keep rabbits out of the garden. These "problems" seem trivial, silly, compared with their problems about how they will survive their loss. Unfortunately, they have no extra resources to spend helping confused friends and relatives learn to understand them..



 Nobody but other widows really DO know exactly what widows go through.

These widows complain that you, their friends and families, often abandon them after a few weeks. From your point of view, you may stop visiting her so often because you feel helpless and frustrated, nothing you say seems to help her. Maybe you have become tired of hearing the same sad stories of his death.  Maybe you think her husband wasn't quite as wonderful as she now thinks he was. Maybe you think she is just acting crazy and isn't responding to grief as maturely and sensibly as (you think) you would. Or, maybe her low moods and tears are keeping you from feeling completely well and happy in your own life.

Regardless of why you don't see her more often, from her point of view it probably feels a lot like you have abandoned her. This isn't helped by the fact that most widows already feel they have been abandoned by their deceased mates. I remember that feeling of abandonment. I remember that I sometimes felt like toddler whose mother has just dropped her at a complete stranger's house and left without a word. Nothing feels familiar, like your world has just ended.



Widows feel abandoned by their mates and by their impatient friends

As I've said, only widows really know what other widows got through. But anyone can learn a bit about what they go through. Take some time studying pages on this site. That will be a good start. Then compare your own life patterns with what she may be going through. You can't begin to understand her without recognizing how different her life is, and how different she is, now that she is a widow. Once you realize that, you will have fewer problems learning to be her friend. .

Almost every seemingly crazy or horrible or scary thing they feel and do is perfectly "normal"...for a widow, which is a different kind of "normal" than you and her other friends might know.




 Widows experience a wide variety of emotions and peculiar symptoms.

Each person grieves differently. The path of grief is totally unpredictable, except that most people will go through some or all of the accepted stages, and erratic symptoms often appear without respect for those stages. Some stay in deep grief for years, but most show remarkable adjustment during the first months, and especially after a year or two. Depression, often the most difficult stage, also sometimes signals the beginning of real healing. According to recent studies, grief generally lasts from four to seven years. This does not mean widows will remain that long in daily agony, like the first few months. Most widows begin to function more normally and experience brief bouts of optimism after several months.Those bouts of normality usually become more frequent and longer lasting, but it can take four to seven years before all semblance of grief disappears.




 Widows often seem to be "over it" and "in charge."

Don't relax; it might just be a vacation from grief. Be wary; one doesn't just get over grief, like measles.

Know that this natural, patient with your friend.



"We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are always there for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.

-- Jeff Warner