Mourning the death of a spouse or a partner is a profoundly life changing experience. As you are trying to be a support system for a grieving friend, it can be hard to know what to do when a spouse dies. But, your presence and support can make a world of a difference in their experience after losing a spouse. Here are 10 ways to help a friend or family member as they mourn the death of a spouse or partner.
Acknowledge their loss
It might seem intuitive to acknowledge the loss of their spouse, but it is common for mourners to share that friends and coworkers make great efforts to avoid acknowledging their loss of a spouse. One of the very first things you should do after hearing of a friend losing a spouse is acknowledge their loss.
Say comforting words
Knowing words of comfort for the loss of a spouse can really help! We have a few simple phrases to say to acknowledge their loss. Although you may not know what to say to a friend who lost their husband or wife, we have a few ideas.
“I am so sorry for the loss of Frank. I am sure you are so exhausted. Know it’s ok for you to care for yourself.”
“I really loved Janelle and I’m going to miss her so much. I know your heart is breaking and I’m here to support you however you need.”
“My thoughts are with you as you mourn Jeff. You had a special relationship and it was such a privilege to watch your love story.”
After losing a spouse or a partner, it can help to feel that there are people who can support you in processing the complex emotions that come. Whether they experienced losing a spouse unexpectedly, or after a prolonged illness, there can be elements of trauma that accompany losing a life partner. As their friend, you can support them by helping them process their loss, talk about the trauma of their loss, and allow themselves to speak as freely as necessary.
Send a sympathy gift
Sending a beautiful gift is another great way to show your friend sympathy for the loss of a husband. We know that it can be difficult to know exactly what to send, so we have created a collection of curated gifts that are designed to support someone after the loss of a husband. These gifts are all perfectly designed to honor their life together and acknowledge the life of their partner.
Remember their anniversary
Grieving a spouse is immensely difficult in the years after the loss. The dates and holidays that occur after the loss can be especially hard. You can help support them by remembering their anniversary with a thoughtful gesture. Encouraging self care is a super thoughtful idea, whether that is a gift certificate to a spa, a trip to get their nails done, or a comforting self care gift.
Send them a gift on Valentine’s Day
Remembering them on Valentine’s Day is another great idea on how to help a grieving spouse. We love the idea of giving a personalized piece of jewelry with their loved one’s handwriting or name. All the customized memorial necklaces in the laurelbox jewelry collection are made of high quality gold fill and sterling silver, and can be treasured for years.
Offer to help with household chores
The running of a home can be incredibly changed by the loss of a partner. Since many people fulfill different roles in the home, it can be a difficult adjustment for the surviving partner after losing a husband or the loss of a wife. You can support your friend or family member with this huge life change by helping out with household tasks in the intermediary until they adjust to new responsibilities.
Create social environments that do not highlight their new single-ness
It can be very difficult to socialize after losing your spouse, especially if many of your friend groups socialized in couple groups. You can help support your friend by thinking of outings and gatherings that do not specifically highlight their single-ness. Multi-generational parties, gatherings that include others who do not have significant others, and events centered around a fun activity are all ways to include your grieving friend.
Send them a Custom Memorial Candle in honor of their partner
If you are struggling with what to give someone who lost a spouse, our favorite idea is a Custom Memorial Candle with their partner’s name personalized on their candle. It is a super special way to remember their life and to show them that you care. They can use the candle to light whenever they feel alone, and let the light of the candle symbolize the light and love they shared with their spouse. This candle is a customer favorite, and is made of natural soy wax and premium grade essential oils.
Allow them to grieve on their own timeline
Our final suggestion is one of the most important ones – let them grieve as long as they need and do not judge that timeline. It can be tempting to form your own opinions about how long they should grieve, how they should react at holidays, when or if they should start dating again, or if they chose to stay single. These judgements, however, can hinder your support of your grieving friend. The time after losing a spouse is one of huge and intense change, and you can best lend your support by giving them the freedom to experience their grief on their own timeline.
We hope this list of ideas helps you as you work to support a friend or family member who has lost a grieving spouse. No matter when in life they lost their spouse, it is a huge loss that requires navigating immense change. Your presence in their life can be a huge help as they adjust and mourn. You can do this important work!