Welcome to Widow(er) Wednesdays. A new way for me to share what worked, what didn’t work and what could work better.
How to support the grieving
Invite a widow(er) for dinner in your home – not for lunch or coffee but dinner. Dinner is the hardest meal of the day to eat alone after the loss of a loved one.
Fact: In the year after my husband died two friends invited me into their homes for dinner. I invited myself into the home of a third friend after a particularly difficult day. I also invited my daughter, the dog and myself to a friend’s home for Christmas Day. I started going out for the occasional dinner with other widows and we cooked for one another (maybe once) during that first year. So, of the 365 days that made up that first terrible awful year I likely ate dinner alone at least 350 nights and possibly more. It shocks people when I tell them this. It doesn’t shock other widows and widowers.
Why your home? It’s a safe place. During that first year I was often reduced to tears. The way something was phrased, a favourite song over the loudspeaker system, a shared disliked song over the loud speaker, couples strolling hand in hand, and couples arguing. Tears could be triggered anywhere and by anything. It’s much more pleasant to feel your eyes well up sitting on a friend’s couch than it is in a crowded restaurant or coffee shop. Grief comes with tears. It should also come with understanding friends.
Note: Extending a dinner invite to a widow(er) with children is also a good idea. If anyone needs a break it’s those who are trying to figure out how to become a single parent when they’re in the midst of grieving.
P.S. If I hadn’t been so overwhelmed by grief I might have thought to ask my friends to invite me over more regularly. But, I didn’t want to impose, I didn’t want to admit how awful things were and I didn’t want to appear like I hadn’t figured it all out in 3 months – because I thought I was supposed to and so did they. * It takes years to figure it out. We can do this better.
If you’re grieving and you could use dinner at a friend’s place but don’t know how to ask, feel free to send them the link to this post. I’m grateful I can look back on this now and be able to share with others how we might do this better together moving forward.
It gets easier. Hang in.