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How do I help my friend? Recently widowed with 6 children.

(17 Posts)
debinaustria Thu 07-Aug-08 15:46:57

I have just attended the funeral of my friend whose husband lost his fight with cancer. Her children are 21, 14, 12, 10, 8 and 6. I look after the youngest for her when I can( I have 3 children, youngest being only 7 weeks)

what i want to know from those of you unfortunate to have been in a similar situation is how can i best help out?


ImnotOK Thu 07-Aug-08 15:54:43

I am not a widow but I would think that by just been a close friend and there for her when she needs you will be a help.

I suppose cooking her some meals (casseroles shepherds pies and stuff) for a few weeks would be helpful.

Mention her husbands name and on anniversary and his birthday maybe give her a card to let her know you remember and are thinking of her .

You soundlike a very good friend.

Yorkiegirl Thu 07-Aug-08 16:03:08

Message withdrawn

lilyloo Thu 07-Aug-08 16:08:34

Be there for her in any way you can.
Look after her lo's / cook a meal for her.
Take her out when she feels up to it.
If you can commemerate her partners birthday/anniversary with card/flowers.
Agree that this support is doubly important further down the line when people can begin to get on with things and they can often feel very lonely.
Maybe offer to support her at parents evenings / school functions / the kids hobbies etc.
Anything helps esp a listening ear.

feedmenow Thu 07-Aug-08 16:37:04

Are you in a position where you can go out of an evening leaving your dc's with your dh?

Just thinking that at some point soon she might appreciate a friend, a couple of bottles of wine and a box of choccies, to talk about her dh and cry and laugh (remembering the good times) with her.

Also, as others have said, remember both him and her long-term. Don't let up on the support for a long time.

Evenstar Thu 07-Aug-08 17:10:04

Just be there for her when you can, not always easy when your DC's are so young. If you offer help perhaps suggest something, eg could I make you something for dinner, rather than generally offering help. I found so many people were offering help immediately after DH died and they said things along the lines of "if there's anything I can do" you are really too numb to think of something that somebody could do in the early stages. You sound like a true friend and just having the little ones will give her some much needed time and space for herself.

debinaustria Thu 07-Aug-08 23:28:52

Thank you for your replies, I will do my best for her.

shabster Fri 08-Aug-08 00:17:22

I am not a widow but I have lost 2 of my 4 sons. I reckon that:-

1. Encourage her to talk, talk, talk and then talk a little more.

2. Gestures such as food, helping to tidy the house, ironing etc etc dont ask can you do anything just do it!

3. Just listening, and hugging. Many times when someone we love dies other people seem to try and avoid us and dont want to touch us. Loads of hugging.

You are a wonderful friend to ask others for advice. Just be there and be honest at all times because you have a young baby to think about. I am honoured to be part of a continuation of Eris' thread (FMN little girl) will try and link you with our special thread. Anyone who is struggling with any kind of bereavement is always more than welcome. Just a lovely group of mums who are walking on the rocky road of loss and sadness. xxxx

shabster Fri 08-Aug-08 00:18:57

A continuation of Eris' thread

Everyone is welcome. xx

debinaustria Fri 08-Aug-08 08:38:42

Thank you for your words of wisdom Shabster and I am so sorry for your loss.

shabster Fri 08-Aug-08 09:01:38

No problems love - and thank you for your words xx

lottiejenkins Sun 10-Aug-08 14:54:27

Winstons Wish support children who have suffered a bereavment.....

twofalls Tue 12-Aug-08 10:08:16

Try and remember anniversary's and important dates and send her a note to say you are thinking of her. My friend lost her husband 8 months ago and her birthday was really difficult.

Respect the time she needs some space but let her know you are there when she is ready.

For my friend, making decisions about practical things is really hard - let her know that you are there to talk through the things she used to talk through with her DH.

Practical help is invaluable.

Try to arrange dates in the diary so she has something to look forward to - I know this is not easy for you because you have 3 children of your own and a young baby to look after but even lunch in a month, or couple of hours out shopping, a dinner date if you can manage it. This is the kind of thing that other friends can perhaps help out with.

Are you in the UK? If so, Way Foundation is a good group for young widows - they may have an active local group that can also offer her support. And even if you are not in the UK they have quite an active forum I think.

Good luck, it is not easy knowing what to do for the best sometimes but just follow your instincts and you won't go far wrong.

greenandpleasant Tue 12-Aug-08 14:44:14

You are a very good friend.

Tell your friend about this website: - offers practical advice and continuing online support from widows and widowers. An excellent place to vent feelings with others who are going through the same.

Keep calling or texting her, every day, every couple of days, whatever you can manage - but don't be offended if she doesn't call back. Just letting her know you are thinking about her is helpful - not just now but for weeks to come. Can your DH help at all? Just things like mowing the lawn or sorting out car stuff, DIY stuff, even changing light bulbs that are high up - really small things that get on top of someone when they suddenly have to do it all alone. Include her in weekend plans if you can, she may not feel like it now but in a few months the weekends can be the crappiest most awful times as you watch all the dads in the park with their kids and you're doing it alone again.

If you have mutual friends, perhaps you can push them to help too? You can't do it all yourself, the above is a bit of a pick and mix - but others may want to help and not know what to do so you might be able to make a suggestion to them? People often go round to offer support and just sit there with a cup of tea. I really valued the friends who stood and folded washing whilst we talked and then made me the cup of tea.

hope this helps. your friend will value any support and she will know that with a new baby there is only a limited amount you can offer to her, just being in touch will be appreciated.

SpandexIsMyEnemy Tue 12-Aug-08 14:48:06

oh, this was my nan some years ago now thou.

I think she would have (say would have as never recieved it) people to talk to. general support - by way of meals, and help with the LO's if you can have them.

Just keep talking to her, be her shoulder if she needs one. little things are what counts.

also don't be afraid to talk about her DH to her or the children - happy memorys are good.

mountaingirl Tue 12-Aug-08 14:51:27

How wonderful you are to support your poor friend. Don't forget the children though, when my Father died I was 12 and no one ever thought about my sister and I (or certainly didn't want to mention it). As awful as it is a husband can be repaced but a Father never can. I hope she finds the strength to carry on with everyday life, please ask her if she needs anything replacing, doing etc and invite her to dinner parties. It is amazing the number of women who feel a single female is a threat but a single male is welcome at any can be a lonely world for a widow.

mumtofour Thu 14-Aug-08 23:13:44

Hi Debinaustria

9 weeks ago my best friend's husband and mine and my husbands dear friend died. Bereavement is such an emotional and unique journey that no-one can predict how it will individually affect us. You sound a brilliant friend already as you are thinking what can you do and you want to help which is priceless for your friend. Do as much as you can and if you can spot things without having to ask her that is even better. Your friend will find it difficult to concentrate or focus on anything right now so any task you can step in and support will be appreciated. Immediately after the funeral your friend may have a few people who contact her but as time goes on this may fade. This is when your support will be even more vital as your friend may find it hard to ask for help and feel a burden if she does. She may seem to others to be "getting on with things" but inside still exploding with emotion that needs to be allowed to come out. Allow her to talk as much as you can as she will be missing her husband to share thoughts with and she may find making the decisions herself a huge responsibility without anyone to talk them through with. If there are other friends whom your friend is close to perhaps you can give them a nudge if you know their support would be welcolmed by your friend. In all do for her as you would wish someone would do for you if you were in her position right now. A vital point is pat yourself on the back every now and then as friends like you are priceless and wonderful, your friend will be so glad she has you in her life right now.

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