What kind of help does a widow need?
Good rule of thumb when thinking about what kind of help a widow might need is this:
If you need it done, so do they.
From grocery shopping and house cleaning, to yard work and home projects. If it’s on your mind for your home, it’s on a widow’s mind, too – often with a healthy amount of anxiety or concern over how to take care of it. Or, worse, she hasn’t thought of “that” because her husband did “that” while she took care of other needs, and she doesn’t realize “that” is a thing she needs to think of.
Spring is right around the corner and most of us do still think about Spring Cleaning, in one form or another. We know everyone has busy lives – we see it, we hear it; we understand it. As a result, most of us will never ask for help. However, we will all most likely accept it.
But… what? You’re probably thinking, “I told them to let me know of they need anything.”
Yeah, we know. And we appreciate that. We really do. We also understand that you’re busy and we don’t want to constantly make our needs your problem. We’ll figure it out.
That being said, if you offer to come help with a need or project, we will most likely melt with gratitude and appreciation.
So, what’s the difference? Well, showing up. Changing the conversation from passive to active. Instead of asking what we need or telling us to “let you know if…”, offer to come:
- Have a cleaning day, to share the burden and enjoy some fellowship & camaraderie
- Take care of yard prep for the coming season (old piles of leaves that need to be cleaned out, pick up fallen sticks & branches, clear out flower beds and spread some new mulch, etc.)
- Tackle some bigger outside projects (clean out gutters, check the roof for trouble spots, clean out a/c units)
- Have a batch cooking day and split the results
The difference is switching from asking (or even offering) in general to offering and setting up something specific – passive to active. And you don’t even have to come up with something. I just gave you a list from which to chose to make it a little easier. Of course, you can always come up with other options based on your skill-set or gifting, and your friend’s needs and pain-points.
Don’t forget, widowhood is not an event, it’s life. It doesn’t end after a few months or even a few years. It’s something we live every day. Friends or family that join us and live it with us make all the difference. You can change the conversation and become a more active presence in the life of a widow.