Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dates to Remember

Should you ignore significant dates to your widowed friend because mentioning them will only make her re-live her pain? The answer is simple.  NO! Especially on significant dates, you want to let her know you are thinking of her.  From her point of view, she already feels alone and when people don't remember specific dates, it only makes her feel more alone.  Make sure to put these dates in your calendar and to reach out to her before or on these dates:

1) A week after the funeral - When many of the "to do's" are checked off, your widowed friend is going to be very aware of her husband's absence and is going to feel extremely alone even if there are multiple family members and friends physically around her.  We hear many widows say that when everyone moves back to their normal daily functions in the weeks after the funeral, they are still in a traumatic fog re-living the moment of his death. Everyone else moves on yet they can't because the moment they heard about his death, or they saw him die is constantly hovering in the forefront of their thoughts.
2) The one month anniversary of his death - this may seem weird to you but it won't be to the widow.  At this point, if the husband died on a Friday, they will be counting every Friday that has passed since his death. The one month milestone is one of the first realizations of dates continuing to happen while they are still frozen in grief.
3) The one year anniversary of his death - they will now have experienced all of their "first" everything without him and the one year mark is just the first of many years without him.
4) His birthday - She will still be remembering him on his birthday and will be glad someone else did too.
5) Her birthday - Everyone always wants to be remembered on their birthday but especially after they are spending their birthday without their loved one.
6) Their anniversary - Another hard date without him.
7) The holidays - Holidays are about creating memories. The first holiday without their husband is very tough because many widows are scared to create memories without him.  They will have many memories arise of wrapping presents together, holiday parties they attended, the children's responses to the excitement, etc and struggle through those bittersweet memories.

As a reminder, you may do these things and she may not respond.  Regardless, make sure to continue to remember her and these dates where she will struggle more than usual.   It will be appreciated regardless of response.

By Gwen - Co Founder of Friends of Widows & Hope for Widows

1 comment:

  1. Most of my friends seem to forget that when they go home to their husband...their kids their life that I go home to an empty house, a very quiet home. I understand everyone has their own's human nature to forget that I now share mine alone, but what hurts is how everyone thinks you should move on, be happy....but again who wants to always be around someone who is grieving? It's rough as now his one year of passing is approaching and still out of nowhere it hits me and I fall apart....thankfully it now passes as quickly as it comes. NO one can ever know how you feel unless they themselves are going through this one