Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What To Say and NOT To Say When A Spouse Dies.

A lot of us have been there. A friend loses a spouse and we  want to say the right thing, but we stumble over our words and don’t quite know what to say to make her feel better. Will ANYTHING we say make her feel better, we wonder. Perhaps not at the moment, but there’s a lot of things that will make her feel worse, I assure you!

My sister’s friend lost her husband the other day. He was only 42, the exact age of my first husband when he passed away. It brought up some memories for me, including the things that well-meaning people said to me. Yep, there are some doosies!

What NOT To Say:

1. You’ll marry again soon. Really? REALLY? This woman just lost the love of her life and you’re already thinking about marrying her off again? NUMBER ONE WORST THING TO SAY!!!

2. Thank goodness you had time to say good-bye (if it was a long illness) or Thank goodness he went quickly and didn’t suffer (if it was sudden). Either way, he’s gone. There isn’t enough time in the world to say that last “Good-bye” or “I love you” and if it was sudden, there are so many things left unsaid. BAD, BAD, BAD!

3. You’re so young, you have a whole life in front of you (if she’s young) or You were so lucky to have had so many years with him (if she’s older and had been married for many years). If she hadn’t been married very long, she’s mourning the loss of their dreams and their future together. She can’t imagine a future without him. If she’s older, she’s mourning the loss of all those memories with him and still, she can’t imagine the rest of her years without him.

Those are the 3 worst things to say. (Believe me, I could go on and on!)

What to say (and do):

1. Talk about him. Bring him up whenever you can and it’s appropriate. Tell funny stories about him. Make her smile, remembering the good times with him. I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BRING UP HIS NAME. It will not make her sad.

2. Let her cry. And cry and cry and cry.

3. Don’t ask what you can do for her, just DO IT. Bring her dinner. Tell her you’re going to the grocery store or discount store when you’re on your way and ask her what she needs. Pick up her kids and take them out for a couple of hours. You get the idea.

4. Do not abandon her. Don’t be there for the first month or so then figure she’s okay, because that’s what others will do. Be there for as long as she needs you. It could be years. Don’t leave her…please.

Those are the main points. This doesn’t only apply to somebody losing a spouse obviously, so use it as you wish.

And if you are in the situation and you can’t remember what I’ve told you and you think that you might be on the verge of saying something inappropriate, STOP! Close your mouth, hug your friend and don’t say a word. That always works!


No comments:

Post a Comment