The estimated number of widowed persons worldwide in 2020 was approximately 350 million, with the large majority, approximately 80 percent, being widowed women. But, the actual number is likely to be much higher and to grow further as the coronavirus and its related effects on health continue to rage around the world. Here are some tips to help those grieving:
Bible verses of comfort to share in a card:
- "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39)
- "Don't be afraid, for I am with you." (Isaiah 41:10)
- "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." (Psalm 9:9-10)
- "Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock." (Isaiah 26:3-4)
What is appropriate to say to a grieving widow/widower:
- "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."
- "Know that I am here to support you."
- "I am here anytime you'd like to talk."
- Don't push for details. Let the bereaved talk about their loved one. Be a good listener. Elderly spouses, in particular, will likely want to talk and tell stories about the spouse. Don't bring up other people's losses. Let the spouse focus on his/her loss.
What is appropriate to do for a grieving widow/widower:
- Soon after the death, show up at their door and say, "I'm here to clean your house, or polish your shoes, or take out the trash, or shovel snow. People are numb after such a loss and will need help with simple things. One friend stayed overnight with a new widow until her sister arrived. She also met people at the door, wrote down names of visitors, and put food in the fridge.
- Sit with them in church. It’s difficult for many to return and sit alone.
- Call them from time to time or send occasional cards.
- Invite them to be part of a small group.
- If they have young children, offer to babysit one day so they can have time to do something without worrying about the kids.
- Ask them to help you in an outreach activity.
- Include them in holiday plans. This is a particularly wrenching time for the bereaved.
Above all, continue your friendship. Don’t stop including them in your social activities just because they are no longer part of a couple.
–General Conference Ministries