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Old 01-29-2017, 01:49 AM
 
1,852 posts, read 978,746 times
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My husband has just lost one of his oldest friends. They've been close friends since elementary school. His friend died suddenly on Thursday of a heart attack. He left a wife but they never had kids. He and his wife were very, very, close. They live on the west coast, we're on the east coast. How can we help his wife? We offered to fly out but she said no. Her husband's brother and his wife are with her and a large network of friends. What can we do from here that would be helpful? We want to send her something to let her know we're thinking of her. I assume flowers are appropriate, but would something else be better? What would be the most helpful things to do for the new widow?

Thanks very much for any advice. We're pretty much open to doing whatever we can to help.
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:24 AM
 
Location: The house I built
314 posts, read 137,763 times
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Sounds like she has some support already. How is your husband taking this? That might your first place to start as he is with you and you can make a difference in this moment. He may be running the gauntlet of emotions and feelings himself.


I would start with a google search, about what to do to help someone who just lost their spouse. You will find a lot of ideas. And some no no's. It is really hard to think of what to say. So many of my friends and family just didn't know what to say and some made dumb statements but I made nothing of it. Eventually she may want professional counseling or possibly join Grief Share or a similar group. It wasn't for me but many people benefit from being with other widows and making the new friendships.

My wife's cousin who she was very close to bought me a small ceramic statue of a couple sitting and holding each other. I burst into tears the moment I saw it. It sits on my dresser. I look at it everyday. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Canada
5,193 posts, read 3,683,607 times
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(these ideas are if you can afford it)

I think I would send her a card that basically says that you and your husband will fly out there in a few months (6-12) to visit her.

She's freshly grieving, has lots of support around her, and busy right now, but give her some time and she'll appreciate the anticipation of a visit.

Once you get there, either take her car or if you can afford it if she doesn't have a car, rent one and take her on a road trip to somewhere nice for a couple of days. Even if it's just sitting on a beach.

Another idea: (again after a few months) send her a plane ticket to come and visit you.
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Old 01-29-2017, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,591 posts, read 4,821,162 times
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I would listen to the wife. She has her own friends and family. Her connection to you is gone. I could see a one time gift with a note. I don't know of anyone that wanted to continue a relationship when the connection to that person is gone. You lived thousands of miles away. How well do you even know her? When was the last time you saw her? As many threads on CD show people don't value a relationship equally. One person thinks they have a good or best friend when the other thinks of it more as an acquaintance relationship and then it is a late spouse's relationship, not hers. She already said not to visit.

Concentrate on your husband and what he needs.

Last edited by thinkalot; 01-29-2017 at 06:12 AM..
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Old 01-29-2017, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,920 posts, read 51,568,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
I would listen to the wife. She has her own friends and family. Her connection to you is gone. I could see a one time gift with a note. I don't know of anyone that wanted to continue a relationship when the connection to that person is gone. You lived thousands of miles away. How well do you even know her? When was the last time you saw her? As many threads on CD show people don't value a relationship equally. One person thinks they have a good or best friend when the other thinks of it more as an acquaintance relationship and then it is a late spouse's relationship, not hers. She already said not to visit.

Concentrate on your husband and what he needs.
This is probably the most accurate. Test the relationship with card now, a handwritten note in a month or two, and another at around six months. If you don't get responses, let it go. If you do, perhaps a follow up with a phone call.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:23 PM
 
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I think Harry and Thinkalot have it just right - a card in a few weeks or a month, then followed by another in 6 months. Hand written support and sympathy. Sometimes the flurry of help is over in 6 months, but people who have suffered a loss still need to receive support and caring.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:41 PM
 
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For the first few months, a grieving person is "kept busy" with the initial offers of help and all of the paperwork that comes after a person passes. Send a note of sympathy, then plan on contacting the wife again with a note or phone call about 6 months later. And depending on if she lives in an apartment or home, arrange to have her lawn mowed (for example). She may need help with moving things for donating or selling - those are things that only she can decide when to do it.

The hospice staff told me that the death hits at about 5 or 6 months, because the busyness subsides and the grief really sets in. I must say, they were right.
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