Getting Help: 12 Ways Family and Friends Can Offer Support When Your Spouse Dies

Filed Under (Probate) on 07-10-2012

Death of a Spouse,

By Marilyn McWilliams, JD

Rugged independence may be a virtue in some circumstances, but a major loss can be physically and emotionally debilitating. Friends and family are looking for ways to help. Don’t be afraid to accept it.   

Start by sharing this list of activities with family and friends who ask, ‘what can I do?’

A supportive friend or family member can:

1.    Contact your deceased loved one’s employer and ask about benefit information.

2.    Come with you to make funeral or burial arrangements.

3.    Plan a reception after the service.

4.    Prepare and deliver meals to your home.

5.    Coordinate a calendar so friends can bring a meal every night.

6.    Help pick up out-of-town relatives from the airport and make hotel reservations for them.

7.    Take young children to school and to after-school activities.

8.    Take care of pets.

9.    Take turns staying at your house, so you are not alone.

10.    Help collect financial information.

11.    Help locate an attorney.

12.    Help clean out the office or closet of the deceased person.

Your friends genuinely want to help you at this time in your life, and most people are happy to do anything you ask of them. It might be easier for someone else to suggest the things that you need – so feel free to let one of your helpers act as a volunteer coordinator.

For more information, see Life After Death – a Legal and Practical Guide for Surviving Spouses  by Marilyn W. McWilliams, J.D.

  • Heidi

    It’s a pleasure to find somonee who can identify the issues so clearly