Thursday, January 23, 2014

Top Tips for New Widows

If you were my sister, my mother, or a dear friend and your husband had just died, here are the ten things I'd tell you to successfully navigate the waters of widowhood.

1. Trust God. Easier said than done, I know. But just do it, one step, one breath at a time.

2. Trust yourself--for the most part. Don't let others make decisions for you like what to do with his clothing, when to change your pillowcases, etc. You can do this. God knows you can. On the other hand, realize that this huge jolt in your life can put you in a spin.Irrational actions might seem perfectly logical--but now's not the time to start an affair, make large donations or rush into plastic surgery. "Don’t make a decision in a storm that you wouldn’t make in calm weather". ~Max Lucado

3. Breathe, cry, walk. Kind of reminds you of Eat, Pray, Love doesn't it? But I wouldn't advise any of those yet. They'll happen on their own. Breathing, crying, and walking are what you simply must do.

4. Take care of your kids and/or grandkids. They just lost their father and/or grandfather; they need you more than they can say.

5. Read these 2 books right away. First, read Grieving: Our Path Back to Peace by James R. White. This is a short book that describes the patterns of grief and God's part in it. It'll give you a framework of what to expect. Then read Miriam Neff's From One Widow to Another for some practical tools in dealing with widowhood.

6. Find your board of directors as mentioned in Miriam Neff's book---a godly widow, a person with financial wisdom, a practical friend, an encourager, a person with spiritual discernment and courage, and a relative who's priority is your well-being. Use these people, call on them frequently to help with your many decisions and new way of life. Don't worry about payback, you'll do the same for someone else someday.

7. Get counselling. Attend a GriefShare group, find a local grief or widows support group, or see a professional Christian counsellor.

8. Give this chapter of life to God. Widowed author, Sandra Aldrich, decided to "tithe" her years of life like she tithed her financial giving. This gave her great freedom in the use of her time and in setting priorities.

9. Rest. It's OK to do nothing at times. Grief is physically exhausting. Lighten up and give yourself time to recover. Schedule a check up with your doctor, allow yourself some breaks, and don't feel guilty about laughter or feeling happy again. Don't feel guilty about feeling sad, either.

10. Give yourself something fun to look forward to. For example, invite faraway friends to come visit, go to lunch with nearby friends. Find a walking partner, and a praying partner--perhaps someone you can call and pray over the phone with. Take a long drive if you like to drive. Sign up for a class, join the church choir....begin to re-discover interests you put away when you were married...Finding activities I enjoyed gave me things to look forward to and helped me endure those down days when the house was one person too empty.

What's on your list of tips for widows? I'm sure I didn't cover everything, so please add your comments today. Thanks!

I'd love to hear your tips for widows! Email them to or enter them in the comment line. Thank so much,



  1. Great tips Ferree ~ I joined a Christian widow's group, and ended up starting a blog for them.

    Gardening is something I enjoy and I'm getting more into it now that the first year without my dear love has passed. It was hard at first to do much of anything as I was living in a fog.

    Working with needles, hooks, beads, thread and yarn is another thing I've slowly gotten back into.

    Reading the Bible and other writings have really helped.

    Talking about my missing my husband and ways of coping has helped tremendously also. I've received much support from online friends who follow my blogs and that has been a blessing.

    We widows are all unique ladies, all different ages with different circumstances. The grief was really raw in the beginning, but is much better now. Every once in awhile I have a meltdown, and that's usually because too much happens at once. Tears can be triggered at any time, and I've learned to just let them flow.

    The main thing is to trust in God. I look to Hi as my husband now and he knows what is best for me. I miss my dear husband of 43 years and look forward to our reunion whenever that will be. For now, I rejoice that he is with God, where all is well.

    I am thankful for the gift of each new day and all of the memories locked in my heart. I feel my husband's love, encouragement and support all around me in our little cottage and property.

    Love and hugs to all my sisters in this time of your lives ~ God has plans for us, plans for good and not evil and for His honor and glory.


  2. I just ordered the e-versions of the books recommended-looking forward to reading them.
    I am having trouble finding things that define "me" as I was with Michael 38 years-married at 16 (he was 18) and still in high school. Never been not part of a couple...


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