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My neighbour died suddenly last night, how can I support his wife?

(12 Posts)
t161tanya161 Fri 13-Dec-13 20:58:58

Hi all,
Had a horrible visit from my neighbour this afternoon, she knocked on the door and told me her husband died last night, their son found him in the bathroom. I can't believe it. I just hugged her and listened to her and cried with her. I told her that whenever she feels rubbish she is always welcome to come round for a cup of tea. The thing is she hasn't spoken to us for over a year because our building work was upsetting her, when she came to tell me he had died she said that I shouldn't be being so nice to her after she has been so horrible to us, I just told her to forget it all. He was never horrible to us, in fact I only saw him yesterday :-(
I want to support her but I don't want to annoy her. Their 38 year old son lives there so she isn't alone. What do you think I should do? Leave it a few days then call round? Call round when her son is out? Make her a shepherds pie over the weekend? It's just so awful and I don't want to be someone who avoids a grieving person.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

wombat22 Fri 13-Dec-13 21:01:42

How about a sympathy card through the door with a line inviting her to pop in if she wants a chat? It sounds like you've been very good already in view of the circumstances.

MrsTittleMouse Fri 13-Dec-13 21:01:56

Making food is a good idea. It might be nice to do something quite light, but tempting. It can be hard to eat when you've had a shock like that. Perhaps some soup?

InkleWinkle Fri 13-Dec-13 21:16:49

Pop a sympathy card in her door.
Likely she'll be inundated with people at the moment but watch for when they've all had to go home / back to work etc etc.
Then make her soup / shepherds pies/drop in for a coffee etc etc. It will make all the difference to her then and probably to every one else who is worried about her.

(with heartfelt thanks to my Dad's lovely neighbours over the past few months)

Chippingnortonset123 Fri 13-Dec-13 21:21:29

You sound like a lovely neighbour. I would take a shepherd's pie round with a note offering future help.

bebopanddoowop Fri 13-Dec-13 21:39:32

Food is a very good idea. The most amazing thing someone did for my ma when dad died was make a whole crate of food like lasagne, casserole etc in those plastic takeaway tubs so each tub was one per portion and she left it in our front garden and texted saying where she'd left the crate and put them in the freezer and just heat up when we could. It was really great because my mum would have definitely forgotten to or not got round to eating otherwise, and me and my siblings when visiting too. Other people made cakes and little snacky things which was good cos if you didn't feel like eating you could still grab a little bit.

The kindness and thoughtfulness of the crate of food I will definitely remember forever and I'm sure ma will too.

I would also suggest when you offer to 'do anything' for them, to come up with practical suggestions such as 'can I do some shopping for you' or 'I'm having a laundry day - do you have anything you can add to the load' or something, because often people will be in such shock that they won't know how to seek your help or what they need.

You sound like a very nice neighbour

ThurlHoHoHow Fri 13-Dec-13 21:42:40

I think food is a lovely idea, especially something that could be frozen if she doesn't feel like eating.

I would put a card with it saying that she can ask for any help she wants, coming over for a cuppa for a distraction or just popping to the shops for her, whatever. And yes, as other people say, the most helpful thing could be to not start acting as if her life will be normal again in a few weeks.

t161tanya161 Fri 13-Dec-13 22:00:12

Thank you everyone, I think I'll get a card and make a couple of individual meals for her so she can stick them in the freezer if she can't face eting. It's such a shock for us so I really can't imagine what it mst be like for her. I heard banging coming from next door during the night, I just pray to god he wasn't banging trying to get someone's attention. Se said she feels awful because she knew nothing about it until her son found him. Can't quite believe we won't be seeing him anymore :-(
Thanks again everyone xxxxx

Spacefrog35 Sat 14-Dec-13 00:11:55

Food is a lovely idea. One thing I would recommend is thinking of this in a few days / weeks time. Maybe the day after the funeral? It will be later when all the other support has drifted away that she will really appreciate your support ( if you want to give it).

Spacefrog35 Sat 14-Dec-13 00:12:49

Sorry pressed post too soon. Meant to add I will be thinking of you all.


MoreThanChristmasCrackers Sat 14-Dec-13 00:20:23

I was going to recommend food especially over the next few days. chances are she does all the cooking and she won't feel like it or may not have time with everything she'll have to do.
Just pop round to see how she is doing and ask if there's anything you can do. Offers of practical things will be greatly appreciated.

bideyinn Sat 14-Dec-13 00:41:08

I would just pop round and make sure she is okay. It must be a horrible shock for her, she can tell if she wants anything and you can guage how she is and offer help/support accordingly. Horrible time of year, poor thing.

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