How do I support a new widow (my younger sister)?

February 18, 2010 at 3:03 am in Family & Relationships by lv1958

My heart is aching.  My younger sister Gail’s husband David died suddenly at age 58 ten days ago.  Gail is 50; they’d only been married for 4.5 years, and they were BEST friends. 

They had no children together.  Gail was laid off from her job of 15 years 3 years ago and hasn’t worked since; Dave supported them by working really hard at his cleaning business.  Now she’s left with an empty house; a mortgage big enough where she’ll probably have to rent out their house and move in order to survive; and their two adopted beagles to keep her company.

Gail and David and my husband and I had been booked on a Caribbean cruise leaving a month from today; I was very close to them.  I often stopped by their home on my way home from work.  I was the one Gail called when David was taken to the hospital at 4:30 last Saturday morning, and she collapsed in my arms when the doctor came in and told us he was gone.

Now I just need to know–what can I do to help ease her pain?  Please, if you are a widow yourself, what helped you most right after your husband died?  I’ve stayed overnight with Gail several times, and we’ve had some good cries and a few laughs … we (and my other 2 sisters) email often during each day, and I’m acting as a sounding board as she makes decisions about the legal stuff, etc.

But what else would be helpful?  Were there any groups you joined that helped you grieve?  Books you read?  Places you went?

Thank you for any help you can offer.


p.s. My husband is a deacon at our church, so he’s helping with the spiritual aspects of her loss.