Normally, I write to widows like me. Women who have lost their husbands and are raising young children alone. Today though, I felt compelled to reach out to those of you who want to support their loved ones during their grief journey but may not know how.
“Just let us know what you need.”
This statement, while I know in my heart was said with nothing but good intentions, was one I hated hearing. I know you mean well. I know it comes from a place of love, but let me tell you, I had no clue as to what I needed…or would need… after Elliot died. I was totally lost! My world had just blown up right before my eyes! The plans Elliot and I had for our future, for our family just didn’t exist anymore.
The only thing I knew for sure was tomorrow wouldn’t bring my husband, my kids’ daddy, back. The stress I felt was mind-numbing, so instead of asking for anything, I just replied “thank you” each time I heard this phrase.
Our lives had just drastically changed forever.
All I could think about, all I wanted to do, was try and hold it together for my kids. To give them some sense of comfort and peace. My son was so scared and confused. He’d yet to shed a tear and would get so mad when he saw me cry. He didn’t understand. How could he? He was just 5 years old. Good Lord, I couldn’t wrap my head around what had just happened…what could he possibly be thinking at such a young age? My 3-year-old daughter just wanted to know why her daddy didn’t take his socks with him to go live with Jesus (my husband had a total sock fetish!!).
I had no idea how hard life would be without my husband around. He did so many little things around the house I never even considered.
I would have a complete meltdown over a blown out light bulb, or when my check engine light would come on, or that the grass in out teeny tiny backyard grew faster and thicker than anyone else’s. At least that’s how I saw it. I just could not keep up! I felt like I was drowning, barely holding my head above the very dark water I was living in!
This is where you come in…
Thank God for the beautiful loving friends, family, and strangers God placed in our lives!! I don’t believe any of them ever really knew how much they saved my sanity over the years, and continue to do so.
What they may have considered small gestures or simple acts of kindness, I held on to them like a life preserver!
Bring me dessert!!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll take some chocolate any day; however, for a widowed mom, “dessert” can be so many different things. If you have even the slightest thing in mind for how you want to help your friend or loved one, just tell her…and then do it!!
If you need some ideas, well, you came to the right place!
- Take dinner over to her house…a year…TWO…THREE years after her loss.
- Show up on a Saturday morning and mow her grass or shovel the snow off the driveway.
- Call her up and ask if you can take the kids to McDonald’s for dinner.
- Tell her you have an hour to kill and want to help her around the house.
- Volunteer your hubby (ask your hubby first!) to complete her “I Have No Honey Do List”…that’s a great one, especially if you and your friend get to go have your nails done!
ALL those little things we don’t know we need or feel guilty for asking help with.
For me, admitting I didn’t have everything under control or feeling like I would lose my mind if I didn’t get some kid-free time, meant I wasn’t a good mom. It meant I was weak, or people would look at me like I was just using the death of my husband as an excuse to get help around the house or with my kids. But guess what?? That’s exactly the reason!!
It has taken me a LONG time to come to terms with the FACT, I don’t have my spouse, my partner in life, my kids’ dad, to help me with anything…ever again! So, I’m getting better at asking for help…because I know the MVP family and friends in my life will always be there and never judge, no matter what!!
So don’t wait for those you love, who have lost some much, to come to you…take them dessert!!