Knowing what to say to a grieving widow who has lost their partner can feel daunting. Focus on their experience and connect with them in a genuine way that illustrates your support for them.
What to Say to a Grieving Widow
The pain experienced by an individual who has lost a spouse or partner can be difficult to even fathom. Know that each individual's grieving process can look different, so it's best to go into the situation expecting several possible reactions. This way, you'll be better prepared for what is appropriate to say to your friend or family member mourning the loss of their partner. You can consider saying:
- I love you so much and am here for you. I'd love to make you dinner and drop it off tomorrow night if that's okay with you.
- I am here for you and care about you. I'd love to come over and help out with some chores if you're comfortable with that. How are you feeling today?
- Know that I am here to support you and I love you. Would it be okay if I helped out with your pets today or during the week? I'd love to give you a bit of a break.
- I am here anytime you'd like to talk. May I come help out with the kids during the week? I'd love to give you a chance to have some time for yourself.
What Do You Say to a Young Widow?
For an individual who has lost a partner or spouse early on in their relationship, it can feel immensely painful and unfair. Checking in with them and offering to help out in a meaningful way may help them feel loved and supported during this time.
- (Insert deceased individual's name) was an incredible person, and it was easy to see how much they loved you. Would it be okay if I dropped off some food for you this week?
- I love you so much and feel so lucky that I got to know you and (insert deceased individual's name) together as a couple. I am here for you and would love to drop off a special treat for you tomorrow if you're comfortable with that.
- I just wanted to check in to see how you're doing today? If it's okay with you, I'd like to check in with you later tonight to see if I can drop off anything for you.
Do You Say Happy Anniversary to a Widow?
You can absolutely say happy anniversary to someone who lost a partner, but it should be phrased in a more sensitive and supportive way. For example:
- I know today would have been your and (insert deceased individual's name) (insert number) anniversary. Know that I am thinking of you both today and would love to drop off something for you later if that's okay with you. I love you.
- I know today is your anniversary with (insert deceased individual's name). I just wanted to check in and see how you are doing today. May I bring over some dinner for you later?
- I wanted to reach out today and see how you are doing. I know this would have been anniversary number (insert number) with (insert deceased individual's name). Know that I am here for you and love you.
What Should You Not Say to a Widow?
Even if you mean well, there are certain sentiments that may not land well when received by someone in the midst of grieving.
- "I can't imagine what you're going through." This isolates the individual in mourning.
- "At least you didn't have children." This is insensitive and presumes that every couple wants children, which isn't the case.
- "All part of God's plan." Anything religious is best to steer clear of as it can come across as insensitive to some.
- "You should be grateful for the time you had together." This is insensitive and in no way meets the individual experiencing grief where they are in the process.
- "Tell me how I can help." This can feel stressful to hear, even if said with the best intentions. It's better to be specific when offering help in these circumstances.
- "I can't believe how well you're doing." This assumes you know what they are experiencing, and it can feel rejecting and isolating to hear.
- "This has been so hard for me, I miss (insert deceased individual's name) so much." This only focuses on your experience and doesn't provide support to the individual who lost their partner.
What Do You Do for a Grieving Widow?
There are many ways you can show your friend or family member that you are there for them and care about them. Offering to do helpful chores, cooking and dropping off meals, and assisting with child and/or pet care can make such a difference to the individual experiencing this loss.
What to Say to a Widow in a Card
Sending a sympathy card can be a thoughtful way to convey how much you care about the person experiencing the loss of their partner or spouse. To some, in person connection after the loss of a loved one may feel too overwhelming, but sending a card can be incredibly meaningful and may feel less intense.
What to Say to a Widow at a Funeral
At a funeral, memorial, or wake, you may not want to delve into a long discussion with the individual who recently lost their partner. They may feel overwhelmed and will likely be speaking to many people throughout the day of the funeral. Saying something short and thoughtful can be meaningful and convey how much you care without taking up too much of their time in this specific venue.
Comforting Words to Say to Someone Grieving the Loss of a Spouse
If you know someone who is grieving the loss of their spouse or partner, show your support with kind words and meaningful actions.