7 Ideas To Care For Widows



Death is something that’s supposed to happen to old dogs and very old people and preferably, in the distant future.  But sometimes death visits unexpectedly.

That’s what happened to me.  I never saw it coming.  

In the time it takes for the moon to cross the sky, my life changed forever.

My husband Jay and I had built a beautiful life together complete with two baby boys and a cat that didn’t get into the trash. Just after our 14th wedding anniversary Jay unexpectedly died of a heart attack. He was 39.  


Devastating only begins to describe being widowed. 

Grief affects every aspect of life. Parenting. Finances. Meal planning. Social occasions.

Fear grips you in ways you never thought possible. As a widow, I would lay awake at night wondering: 

  • Is my house safe?
  • Can I sleep with a window open?
  • What do I do about money?
  • Who will take me to the hospital if I get sick?
  • Do I know how to buy a car?
  • What happens if the oven breaks again?
  • Who will teach my little boys to tie a tie, drive a car or treat a woman?
  • If I die in my house, would anyone notice?


Cling to God

All I could do was cling to God and trust that he would lead me through the season of sorrow. 

Twenty-five years have come and gone since that dreadful day. Now more than ever, I can attest to to faithfulness of God, the power of prayer and the importance of living in community with God’s people.  That triumvirate will produce a victory of joy in spite of circumstances every time. 


7 Caregiving Tips

If someone you know is widowed, here are 7 suggestions you can do to ease her pain and suffering. 


1. Look for her.  Smile at her.  Talk with her. Don’t avoid her because you don’t know what to say, or you feel uneasy. Widows lose up to 75% of their relationships within a year. Push through the feeling of awkwardness.


2. Pray for her often. Ask her how she needs God to show up in her life: 

  • Provision?  
  • Parenting wisdom?  
  • Comfort? 
  • Decision making? 
  • Companionship?
  • Grace for dealing with people? 
  • Pain relief?


3. Ask her to tell you about her dead husband. Weird, I know, but trust me, she wants to remember him and talking about him helps her process her grief. Not sure what to ask?

  • Ask what he was like. 
  • What does she miss the most?
  • How did they meet?
  • What did he do for fun?


4. If you knew her spouse, tell her a story about him.

  • What struck you about about his character?
  • Tell her about a shared experience.
  • A tale that makes her laugh.
  • An account that confirms what a great guy he was.


5. Celebrate with her. You can’t replace romance, but you can fill in some gaps. Take her out for her birthday or her wedding anniversary.  Send her cards or drop off flowers. 


6. Make a note on your calendar to contact her on the 3, 6, & 12 month anniversary of her husband’s death. Let her know she isn’t forgotten.


7. Offer to assist her. She’s all alone now and quite likely overwhelmed.

  • Can you offer a playdate for her littles or take her teens for a burger or movie?
  • Could she use help with her yard, gutters, leaves, or snow removal?
  • Is she interested in meals? Most widows lose their appetite and it’s hard to cook when you’re not hungry.  Bring a meal, gift her with restaurant gift cards or inviter her over for a meal.


Great love is worthy of great sorrow.

It will take time to recover. You can’t fix her, but you can ease her pain.


Remember, you don’t have to do all these things, pick the ones that are easy for you.  Whatever you do will make a big difference.


Can you think of other ways to minister to a widow? 


Verse for today: When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. – Deuteronomy 24:19 NIV


Prayer: Oh Father, we thank you for your care and for your compassion. You have not forgotten us. Let us not forget those who are suffering loneliness and grief. Prompt us in ways to minister to the hurting and demonstrate your great love. In Jesus’ Name, amen. 


  1. Joan Luther on December 4, 2022 at 5:43 am

    Our connection group had their Christmas party last night. There is a lady in our class who lost her husband last year. he was a wonderful man and on Sunday mornings I make the coffee for the class I don’t remember how It started but every Sunday morning I made his coffee and gave him a kiss on the cheek. We also had a thing going about coconut cream pie. So I made a coconut cream pie for dessert last night in his honor. His his wife was very touched she sat there crying. After reading this devotion I really feel like I did the right thing.

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:50 pm

      Awesome Joan. Well done.

  2. Kim Robinson on December 4, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Robin, your email was so timely this morning! My husband died four weeks ago of a massive heart attack, very unexpectedly! Until now, I did not know what grief was! I realize I have not been there for people dealing with the loss of a loved one. It just feels like until you’ve gone through it, you can’t imagine what people need. But your email is so helpful! I have already talked to several people in my church, but after the holidays, I believe we need to start some kind of a support group that can minister to those that have gone through it but also those that will go through it and we can be there for them ! I’m going print off your email and keep it for when we start that group! Thank you, Robin, for sharing your insight!

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Kim,
      so very sorry for your loss.
      I know what you mean, till I went through it, I had no idea what grief was like.
      A support group might be just what’s needed.

  3. Kathie Moore on December 4, 2022 at 11:45 am

    I have been widowed for almost eight years. It was devastating when my husband passed. I was surrounded and supported by many close friends. My relationship with God is so important. I couldn’t survive without that relationship. I have survived and my children are moving on with their lives but it is still hard. Especially at the holidays . I miss Tom everyday.We were married 30 years and he died in a bathroom at a restaurant. Thank you for this message today.

    • Family on December 4, 2022 at 1:26 pm

      Every Christmas when I was me and my sister were younger we used to go to visit our grandparents condo /cottage and we had a gathering til about 6 years ago my grandma passed away !!! And then I was left with my biological grandpa who was missing my grandma and always looked at pictures of her and said he couldn’t wait to see her in heaven , sadly last December he passed away 2 days after Christmas !!!!! Then I lost my last grandma last April!!! Now all I have is all aunts and Uncles and cousins

      • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:46 pm

        Oh Kathie, I’m so sorry for your losses.

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:49 pm

      Wow, so sorry for your loss, Kathie. ???????

      • Beaman, Lydia on December 5, 2022 at 10:26 am

        Aww, thanks, Robyn!! Praise The Lord, I still have my precious husband to care for, but we live in an “over 55 mobile home park” here in Florida. We have many times when going through grief from the death of a beloved spouse occurs in our neighborhood, and I wonder,” Is what I’m doing enough?”. Thanks for those excellent suggestions!
        Lots of love and prayers for your valuable ministry! ?Lydia

  4. May Carpenter on December 4, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    I became a widow on October 2nd of this year. It’s been quite an experience. We were married 24 years. He had Alzheimer’s. Had been in a nursing home for over year and a half. Didn’t get to visit as much as I’d of liked Covid and closed down so much at first. November was hard both his birthday and Thanksgiving. Now with Christmas coming. I’m Thankful and Grateful to God that He is with me. Wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have Him. The one thing though that really pulls at my heart is…. I can’t cry. Please keep me in your prayers. I was at one of your conferences years ago. I try to keep up with where you are speaking. Thank you for your message today ??

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:48 pm

      Hi May,
      I am so sorry. Both for your loss and that your tears refuse to emerge. Praying for you to experience God’s comfort and for you to be able to process your grief in ways that are therapeutic and helpful.

  5. Susan Leonard on December 4, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Your Devotion was exactly what I needed today. I flew up to be with my friend who just lost her husband two weeks ago. We went for walks in the park and the beach just to get out of the house. Just being with her to help in anyway I could. Thanks for the additional tips in ways to help her.

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      so sorry to hear this. You’re a good friend.

  6. Dyann on December 4, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    This was excellent Robyn. So many practical suggestions. My husbands best friend died a week into Covid and no one wanted to hug his widow out of fear. He didn’t die of Covid but fear ruled. I became the designated hugger. We invited her to live w us until we could get her to her kids who lived very far away. It was a special time for us all. We spent each evening by the fire sharing stories about Tom, Loving people through grief is vital. Thank you for writing this. Blessings Dyann
    Ps I just finished a five day study guide on What to do when your life falls apart. My first advice was the same as yours, CLInG?

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 4, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      What a wonderful way to demonstrate the love of Jesus. Well done, Dyann.

  7. Terri on December 6, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Very timely. We will be having a memorial service next weekend for a young husband who unexpectedly passed this week.
    Thank you so much for the practical tips.

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 6, 2022 at 8:04 pm

      Oh I am so sorry to hear this. Thank you for your support of the new widow.

  8. Laurie Schaaf on December 6, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    Great advice. My husband died 8 months ago. Though most people are supportive, some have ignored me, even some I counted as friends. Life goes on and life is busy, but a simple “how are you doing”? can make a hard day just a little better. Thanks for your helpful suggestions. I hope to use them to encourage other grieving widows.

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