Over the last year especially several of my girlfriends have gone through difficult times. Some of have lost spouses, parents, siblings, close friends or suffered miscarriages or other grave tragedies. When tragedy strikes the family of a dear friend we want to do everything we can to help. Most of us do not have the life experience to know how to be helpful. After speaking to one girlfriend who navigated the death of a spouse firsthand I was able to cultivate a list of ideas for how to help a girlfriend who is grieving the death of a spouse. I hope you never need to use this list but in case you do I hope you’ll find this a useful resource. This is a wide range of ideas that need to be filtered based on the context of the loss and the circumstances of the tragic event.
10 Ways To Help A Grieving Girlfriend
:: SET UP A GO FUND ME FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES. // In the event of a surprise and tragic event it may help to set up a go fund me (if needed) for funeral expenses which can be upwards of $10k.
:: SET UP DINNER AND A MOVIE. // Pay for a meal service or organize a CaringBridge or SignUp Genius to organize and deliver meals to the grieving family. You can also charge up an Uber eats account and fill up your girlfriend’s Netflix account so she and her family can have dinner and a movie. Often if the spouse or family is a part of an organized religious community the church will organize a meal train. Be sure to ask if that’s the case so efforts aren’t duplicated early on. The grieving process takes time and the family may need and appreciate assistance for several months following tragedy.
:: ESTABLISH REGULAR GROCERY DELIVERIES. // Pay for a grocery delivery service. Ask your girlfriend to take a picture of her grocery list and the contents of her refrigerator and set up a recurring order for her.
:: HELP SUPPORT THERAPY SESSIONS. // Pay for therapy for the family: spouse and kids (if there are any). Therapy sessions are pricey — they can be upwards of a $175 per hour. A Reiki energy healing session from a trusted practitioner may also help lift a girlfriend’s spirits if she is receptive.
:: ARRANGE FOR HOUSEHOLD SERVICES. // In the event of the loss of a spouse, pay for a cleaning service, lawn service, or handyman service to come to your girlfriend’s house. These are roles a spouse may typically fill in the household. In the months following tragedy the work will have piled up and your girlfriend may be grateful for the help.
:: SET UP MONTHLY GIFT BASKETS. // Monthly gift baskets remind the survivor that they are loved and supported. Especially around Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. remember that the survivor will be grieving a loss.
:: STAY IN TOUCH WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS. // Remember to check in by phone calls or text with no expectation of a return message. You don’t want to add to her burden but you never know when your check in will come at just the right moment when she needs a friend to talk to. You can’t fill the void of a missing phone call/email/text from a loved one but checking in regularly will help her feel supported, cared for, and loved.
:: COORDINATE A MONTHLY VISIT AMONG FAMILY AND FRIENDS. // On monthly visits you will help her clean her house, get organized, and lend a helping hand in any way. You will also be a set of ears for anything she wants to talk about. A surviving spouse with kids often feels as if she doesn’t have another adult to discuss her ideas with. She might have a million ideas trapped in her head and crave a sounding board to talk them through.
:: SUPPORT HER IN FINDING TIME AWAY FROM HER KIDS. // In the event of a loss of a spouse, if your girlfriend has young kids, she will need time apart from her kids too to recharge and have time to take care of herself. One option is a free camp for kids who have lost a parent or sibling. Experience Camps for grieving children offer free one week camps for children who have lost a significant person in their lives.
:: FOLLOW HER CUES FOR MOVING ON. // Everyone heals in their own time. Wait for your girlfriend to give cues that she is ready to remove reminders of the deceased from the home and then offer assistance with the effort.
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