Marie Fork column: How to help a widow grieve
By Marie L. Fork
For The Salisbury Post
On March 6, I lost the love of my life. Weíd been married 53 years and known each other 58 years. Frank and I had a very open marriage. I knew our finances, we discussed our wishes for sickness problems and our desires when the other had gone.
A good friend sent me a book titled ěFrom One Widow to Another,î by Miriam Neff. It took me seven months to accept the fact I was/am a widow. The author has a wealth of information for widows. The book covers vulnerabilities, strengths, relationships and the new woman.
So many of her recommendations I was aware of and so far, I havenít made any boo boos, so to speak. The greatest advice was from the Seven Tips for You to Help Widows.
1. Please do stay connected. There is already a huge hole in our universe. Do not assume we need space to grieve.
2. Please do say you are sorry for our loss. We would rather you tell us you do not know what to say than to tell us of your story of losing a friend or relative. We may be able to listen to your story later, but not now. Do not tell us you understand.
3. Do call and ask specifically, ěCan we go for a walk together , may I run an errand for you, or meet me for coffee. Do not say, ěCall me if you need anything.î
4. Do refer to our husbandsí acts or words, serious or humorous. Itís a comfort to know heís not forgotten.
5. Invite us to anything. We may decline but we appreciate being asked. Even as half of a couple, invite me.
6. Do accept that we are where we are. There are so many ways death comes, and so is our journey through grief. It is not a textbook outline.
7. Walk the talk. Do not make ěconversation onlyî offers such as ěWeíll call and go out to dinnerî and then not follow up. Yes, we are sensitive in our grieving, but weíd rather hear you say, ěIíve been thinking of youî than make an offer just to say something.
Fortunately, Iíve many friends here and a wonderful church family as I have no relatives in Salisbury. Iíve been here 21 years and this is my home. I no longer have ties to Ohio or the 39 years I llived in Pittsburgh. Iím sure there are widowers out there that have issues similar to mine, and I hope there is a publication that can help them also.
Thanks to all my friends who have made this transition bearable for me.
Marie L. Fork lives in Salisbury.