Say “YES, PLEASE!” to those who are offering help when you lose a loved one. This is hard for some people to do. We are used to saying we can do it all, but at this time in your life after you have lost a spouse you can really use the help. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SAY YES! I promise there will be a lot on your plate right now- more than usual. I will also tell you that they give this service usually for a short time frame- like the first 6 months to a year after your loved one has passed. Be grateful and be a “YES ma’am”.
Nobody knows what you need unless you tell them, so be prepared to ask for what you need, but also be ready to say no. This is a time I had to really learn to stand up for myself. It was hard. I had people calling and stopping by my home non-stop. They offered to bring meals, clean my house, run errands, take my children, and take me out and I had to be upfront about what would help. Bringing in healthy meals was a no-brainer! Bring it on! Some things like cleaning my house had to be done by someone I was really close to because I’m pretty private and I also had to know that if I said, “please don’t clean his office or our bedroom or bathroom, they would precisely respect my wishes. (I know a widow that people from her neighborhood cleaned her entire house while she was at the hospital when her husband died. Sounds nice- but it was so painful because they washed her sheets where she could smell him, cleaned his bathroom where he had left everything and touched it last himself, etc! This sounds weird to anyone who hasn’t had a spouse pass away, but I totally get how sad that would be. This friend came over and told everyone not to touch a thing in my home when my husband died.) Taking my kids was awesome. It gave them fun things to do and me a break. Taking me out I did once and just about fell apart, so I had to say no to that for a few more months. Being in public is really hard right after they pass away- your emotions are right at the breaking point all day. We don’t want to fall apart in the grocery store, but I did in the cereal aisle.
Do what you feel at the time- take time alone or ask for company. Don’t feel rushed on anything- especially grieving. Do what you feel is right, not quick or because someone is bugging you to do it.
Practice saying, “I need a moment. I need to catch my breath.”
Most of my family and friends had never lost a spouse. It was up to me to teach them about this crazy grief. None of us knew how long it would take to move on- yes, years.
Please don’t turn down offers of support. If you need it, please use it. You are giving them a chance to serve and love you and your family.