8 Ways to Support a Widowed Friend

Andrea Davis

3 min read

Are you wondering how to help a recently widowed friend but don't know what to say to them? You're not alone. Many people struggle to find the right words in times of loss. It's not your fault. Most of us were never taught how to support someone who has lost a spouse. Let's change that!

Here are some helpful answers to your most frequently asked questions about helping a grieving friend:

What can I say to someone who has lost their spouse?

Start by telling the truth. You can say things such as…

"My heart aches for you during this incredibly difficult time. Losing your husband must be unimaginably painful. I don't know what to say, but I am here to listen and offer my support. Do you want to share with me what happened?'

"If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear more about what happened and how you're coping. Please know that I am here for you in any way that I can offer support and comfort."

"I can't even fathom the pain of losing your wife. Please know that I am here for you, whatever you need. If you are up to it, I would love to hear more about your loved one and offer support in any way possible."

I feel uncomfortable when people are sad. Do you have any tips on listening so they feel safe, heard, and supported?

Feeling uncomfortable when someone is sad is a natural reaction, but being there for them is so important.

Here are some tips on how to listen to and support those grieving the death of their husband or wife:

  • Be a heart with ears.

  • Follow every word they say and stay in the moment.

  • Be patient and give them the time to express themselves fully.

  • Let them share openly without judgment or criticism.

  • Remember, it's about making them feel safe, heard, and supported during difficult times.

Is it okay for me to cry while they're talking?

It's completely okay to cry while they're talking. Your emotions are valid and natural. Don't suppress your feelings. Laugh with them when something funny is said, but let those tears flow if that's what you need. It's all part of being human. Let yourself feel.

Is it okay to talk about my grief?

Grieving the loss of a spouse or any other loss is never easy, and it's okay to talk about it. Your feelings are valid, and sharing your experiences can help others feel less alone. Remember, every grief journey is different, so there's no need to compare. Offer empathy and understanding when listening to someone else's story.

Is it okay to talk about their spouse who died?

It is absolutely okay to talk about a spouse who has passed away. Avoiding the subject may inadvertently cause more hurt than healing. Grieving individuals need to feel that their loved one is remembered and cherished. A listening ear and kind words can provide immense comfort during this difficult time. Let's not shy away from acknowledging their loss and honoring their memories.

Should I give widows space to be alone?

As a society, we often think giving widows space to grieve alone is the best approach. But have you ever considered that this might actually be harmful? Avoiding those who are grieving can make them feel isolated and like there's something wrong with them for not healing faster. Let's break this avoidance cycle and offer our support and presence to those who are mourning.

How long will my grieving friend need support?

It's natural to wonder, "How long will my grieving friend need support?" The truth is grieving widows need ongoing support beyond the immediate aftermath of their loss. Remember to continue showing up for them in the weeks and months ahead. Keep track of important dates and make a loving gesture on those difficult days. Your presence can genuinely make a difference in their healing journey.

Should I recommend the Grief Recovery Method Course to grieving widows?

Yes. If you know a grieving widow looking for emotional support, consider the Grief Recovery Method Course that I offer. Time alone won't heal a broken heart, so it’s important to take action—even if it's scary, even if they have only a little bit of hope. They deserve to find peace and comfort.

Losing a spouse is one of the most devastating experiences a person can go through, yet many struggle with knowing what to say to someone who is grieving. Let's stop offering empty platitudes and instead offer our presence, support, and empathy. Let's create a safe space for them to express their grief without judgment. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just be there for someone hurting.