Ask Mollie: Helping a Grieving Widow

Dear Mollie,

My best friend’s husband was KIA yesterday and it has hit me so hard. It’s really hitting home. I don’t know if it’s because we were good friends with him, or if its because my husband is gearing up for my 1st deployment. I feel horrible because I don’t know what to say or do in this situation. She is one of my best friends and I just don’t want to say or do the wrong thing and make things worse for her or us. I just want to be here and hold her hand through everything, but I can’t. That makes me sad too. My question is what is have you gone through this before? What can I say or do so that I don’t make things any worse? Any advice will help.

— Amber

Dear Amber,

This is terrible news, and yes I went through something similar. The best thing your girlfriend needs right now is prayers and support. I suggest you and your hubby go over there together and ask to take the kids out to eat, or pick her up some food. Have hubby take out her trash; offer to change the oil in her car. I know all this sounds odd, but the little things still have to be done. Let her know you will be coming over daily to check in and that she will have to kick you out. Be there daily to help out maybe by doing the dishes, laundry, vacuuming. You just have to start doing things for her without her asking. I doubt she wants to be alone. Tell her to kick you out when she wants alone time, and that you will be seeing her again, “tomorrow, what time is best?”

If you are strong enough: offer to answer the phone or make calls for her. Do not offer what you can’t do: if you can’t spend the night, don’t say you will. Do not offer to take her to lunch, “sometime” Ask to take her a specific day. You can not make it better; you can just be there in sincerity to help. Everyone grieves differently. I bet she just wants you to be there to hug her and to listen. Remember: It is not fair and you can’t fix it, so do not have unrealistic expectations on yourself.

Little cards and uplifting notes help too. If you all were close, find pictures of all of you together, copy them and give her a small album.

All you and your hubby can learn from this is that you have to be prepared. Talk about a plan. Discuss SGLI, and additional life insurance. I know that you may not want to, but when you are a warrior’s wife, you know what that can include. If you get stressed about your hubby’s upcoming deployment, go to another girlfriend to discuss it, or talk to him directly.

Be strong for your man and for your best friend. I know you can be! You have to be because she needs you and us military wives have each other’s back. Be there for her every day.

I will be thinking of you all and praying.



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