Holidays and Widows: Let’s Get Practical

The holidays are a time for festivity and family. Think of all the traditions you do with your loved one, the details……… the number of stockings hanging from the fireplace, the ornaments where each has a memory, the smell of the home, a traditional holiday vacation, looking at lights, sounds of holiday songs, the coolness of the air, family gatherings, and just the feeling of knowing where that person is in a room. Think of Christmas morning or Christmas service at church. Just close your eyes and imagine this for a short moment. Feel your own heartbeat sink at the very thought of your loved one not being there……

You may be unaware of the widows around you, but they are everywhere. Just within a few blocks of my house, there are three. There is an average of 40 of in every church.

So, let’s get practical. I am going to give you some things you can do for a widow this holiday. 

1) Simply ask them how they are doing during the holiday, whether it’s been a recent death or years later, it’s still there. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing. If they tell you, don’t be afraid of their tears or silence. Get some tissues and just meet them where they are in their grief.

2) Don’t stop inviting them to things, especially couples things. They may say “no” to the New Years Eve party, but the invite will really mean a lot. 

3) Send a Christmas card and mention their loved one name in some way. Just don’t take them off your Christmas card list. 

4) Don’t forget to mention their loved ones name. That person was a part of the widow’s life, and people think it’s taboo to bring up his name. Remember even to bring up memories, and who knows, you may even end up laughing together. If you are brave, ask them to show you pictures.

4) Don’t assume they have a place to be during the holidays. 

5) Offer to put up lights (maybe even notice that 12 foot lightbulb that needs changing!), help with the tree, put on the ornaments, or decorate. 

6) Keep checking with them during the holidays. A call, a text, a note.

7) Pray with them. This shows the deepest and most genuine compassion. 

8) Lastly and most importantly, widows need….support. Maybe your church can provide a widow’s luncheon with no agenda but to get connect. The support from others that understand is priceless.

I look back on my own responses to women who had become widows. I realize how little I understood, and how seldom I looked to walk beside them. I just didn’t know.

I am talking about this because there is such a need. I see it in every widow I meet.

I am one of them.