WidowLife Wisdom: Understanding Anticipatory Grief and How to Help

The holidays are right around the corner, bringing with them anticipatory grief, the feeling of stress or sorrow that comes before an anticipated and unavoidable date on the calendar. For the widow and her children, the days leading up to a special time that was once filled with joy may now be seasoned with tenderness and mixed with sorrow. 


6 Ways to Help the Widow with Anticipatory Grief 

  1. Make note of the days that could be difficult for her and put a reminder in your phone to reach out. This simple gesture will have a giant impact.
  2. Ask her to share the traditions and memories she treasured with her husband. Recalling these special events will often bring joy; the conversation might lead to how she plans to continue the traditions or create new ones.
  3. Talk with her about potential triggers on the actual day and how to avoid them.
  4. Discuss her emotions as the specific day (his birthday, wedding anniversary, or a holiday) approaches.
  5. Walk alongside her as the day approaches. Check in periodically and serve with acts of kindness. Many times, loneliness is heightened on these days. Invite her to join you for coffee, a meal with your family, or a special event she might want to attend.
  6. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you on how to show empathy, compassion, and help during this time. 


Other resources:

Pre-Memory Syndrome provides more understanding on a significant day for the widow.

Remembering His Birthday offers practical ideas of celebrating the one who is no longer here.


God will be faithful to the widow, and she will soon count those blessings as she counts down to the anticipated holiday or meaningful date on her calendar.