The fact that your friend recently lost her husband has left you in a state of immense shock and sadness.
In addition to feeling sorry for him, you also feel sorry for her because she now has to deal with all the inevitable grief.
However, what troubles you even more, is that you don’t know how to help and what to say to your friend and to be sure those are the right words to help her.
How to help a friend who lost her husband? Let her grieve in her own way, acknowledge her pain, encourage her to talk about her late husband, speak to her, and actively listen without offering solutions she didn’t ask for.
The worst option is to say nothing because your friend needs all the help she can get right now.
But it’s also not good to get carried away and say some words that will minimize her pain, no matter how much you want her to move on.
This is what we will deal with in this article: finding the right words for a grieving friend and how to help her in the best possible way.
How to Help a Friend Whose Husband Died Suddenly?
Although death is a natural part of every life, it always leaves sadness behind.
We all imagine we will die at an old age, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way.
A real example is your friend’s husband, who died unexpectedly. Whatever happened, sudden illness or accident, the fact is that he is gone, and your friend is left to mourn him.
You want to help her in every way, but you are afraid of making a mistake and causing the situation worse.
How do you console a grieving heart:
1. Offer Your Sincere Condolences
We believe this will not be difficult for you because you are also affected by losing your friend’s husband.
Although no words can compensate for someone’s loss, they are still needed.
Let your friend know you’re sorry for her loss and are there for her.
Of course, it’s best to do this in person, but what if this news finds you physically far away from your friend?
In that case, you can do it over the phone, but not through text messages. You should completely avoid sending your friend sad emojis or generic messages.
Even though you know that your friend is in a mess right now, call her, sincerely express your condolences, and you will tell her that in person when you see each other.
If the situation is such that you will not see each other for a long time, you can write her a card and send it by mail. In this way, she can read it many times and hold on to your words of comfort.
Even if you haven’t heard from your friend for a long time and are not as close as before, you shouldn’t doubt whether you should contact her. She needs every comforting word now more than ever.
2. Listen to Her
Your friend may have a lot to say. You are there to listen.
Active listening is acknowledging her pain.
Let her tell you everything about how she feels and what she’s going through. But only offer advice and solutions if she asks for them.
“The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard, and companioned exactly as it is”– Parker Palmer
We know it’s hard for you because you want to help her but remember, don’t push your opinions- say less and listen more.
Acknowledgment also means you don’t compare her pain with those who have experienced similar things. Or even worse, say you know what she’s going through even though you haven’t experienced it.
Her pain is hers alone, and so is how she processes it.
3. Let Her Be in Pain
This sounds wrong because you want your friend to stop grieving and being in pain as soon as possible.
Yes, that’s what you want, but she doesn’t.
Have you heard of the 7 stages of grief?
The 7 stages of grief are a model that outlines the emotional and psychological process that people may experience after a significant loss. And those are:
- Shock & Denial
- Pain & Guilt
- Anger & Bargaining
- The Upward Turn
- Reconstruction & Working Through
- Acceptance & Hope
Since your friend lost her husband recently, she may still be in the first stage, second, or third.
However, it is essential to note that not everyone will experience these stages in the same order, especially the first stages. Acceptance and hope will always come in the end, but it’s a long way to get there.
You can’t expect your friends to skip stages to get through the grieving process as quickly as possible.
Your friend wants to be in pain right now because that’s how she feels connected to her deceased husband, and she’s afraid that if she stops grieving, that connection will disappear.
In time, she will realize that she doesn’t have to be in pain, but for now, let her grieve.
4. Share Memories About Her Husband
Although it may not seem like it, your friend always wants to talk about her husband.
There is a saying, “Grief is just love that has nowhere to go.”
Your friend has a lot of love for her late husband and wants to share it with you through stories and happy memories about him.
This can help your friend remember the good times and feel connected to her loved one.
So tell stories about your friend’s deceased husband, about what he was like. In this way, you make it easier for your friend because she wants to talk about him, and you also keep his memory alive.
5. Help With Practical Tasks
When someone is grieving, even the most minor tasks can be overwhelming. Your friend can completely lose the willpower to perform those daily tasks.
Therefore, you do the grocery shopping, washing the dishes, mowing the grass, and similar tasks for your grieving friend.
You can prepare food for her. Usually, casseroles are a common gift to grieving people because they can be served to many people and are easy to reheat.
These small gestures can make a big difference.
It is important to emphasize that your friend will not ask you for all this because she might be uncomfortable. We are not saying that you should be pushy to help her, but if you clearly see that she needs help, make some kind gesture of this type without asking her.
Trust us, it will mean a lot to her.
6. Be Patient With Your Friend
There’s a difference between grieving, mourning and missing a loved one.
Depending on the person, it is a process that can take a long time.
We know that you want everything to be as it was before in your relationship with your friend, but she has had a life-changing event and needs time to process the move on.
Even if it seems like your friend is avoiding you because she doesn’t want to hang out like you used to, don’t let it get you down.
Sudden mood swings are common for people who are grieving. You may think your friend is ok, but something triggers her, and the next moment she hates the whole world for what happened to her.
In those moments, being a shoulder to cry on is crucial. Tell your friend that you are there for her and to let her emotions out.
What Should You Say to Your Grieving Friend?
“Never let your fear of saying the wrong thing stop you from saying anything.”
The right words can comfort your grieving friend, but the wrong words can hurt her more.
Your friend may be going through a stage of anger towards herself, so it is essential that you carefully choose the words.
“I know how you feel” – if you haven’t been through the same situation, then you don’t know, so don’t say this.
“He is in a better place now,” or “It was God’s will” – not everyone has the same religious views, and even if your friend is religious, it may not make sense to her in these difficult moments.
“He’s gone, but at least you have…” – it’s hard for your friend to focus on the things she still has. She can only think about her loss right now.
SAY THIS INSTEAD:
“I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I had the right words.”
” I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can.”
“I’m always available if you need something.”
In Conclusion – Pain Shared is Pain Divided
No, you can’t take the pain away from your friend, but you can be her shoulder to cry on and support in difficult times.
Real friends are not there for each other only to share joy but also sadness.
In true friendships, shared joy is increased, and shared pain is lessened.