Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress
The worst part of grieving is after the funeral is over. Family and friends go back to their normal routines while the widow who has just lost her husband is left drowning in isolation and despair. Now more then ever a widow needs the love and support from her friends and family. A small gesture, like bringing over a meal can not only be a blessing to the widow who has received it but a blessing to the person who has brought it as well.
Take a Meal
A lot of people have asked me “what is the best meal to bring someone who is grieving?” Honestly, anything you feel called to bring is better than nothing! Most of us have a hard enough time getting dressed for the day, let alone going out grocery shopping or trying to cook a meal. For the first several weeks I couldn’t even bring myself to get out of bed. In those moments, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the meals in the refrigerator family and friends had brought over, if it hadn’t of been for those meals I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything at all. So here are a few tips for those of you wanting to support a widow in your life.
TIP 1: If you don’t enjoy cooking or you are short on time, consider making a throw together crock-pot meal. (I have included a GREAT recipe at the end of this post, just for you!)
TIP 2: Limit the snacks please! A lot of people like to bring cookies, brownies, pies and other treats, which are nice don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t exactly “meals.” Snacks can only go so far and if there are children in the home a meal is what we need the most! Soups, stews, crockpot meals and casseroles are some of the best meals to bring and are relatively inexpensive and quick to make (not to mention clean up.)
TIP 3: If you can’t personally take a meal over or live out of state, consider sending a card with a gift certificate to dominos pizza or another local restaurant you know delivers!
TIP 4: Before showing up at the house, call ahead to let us know you are coming. Drive over, then call us and let us know you’ve left something on the doorstep. Remember what you do in private God sees and will reward you for! You may be wondering why I say leave it on the doorstep. Here’s the thing, we may not be up for chatting and we may be embarrassed about the messy, chaotic home inside (not to mention our own emotional selves.) Be sensitive and understanding.
Tip 5: Skip dessert and offer to help with the kids. We’re exhausted! Mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are already having a hard enough time providing for our own basic needs, let alone caring for our children to. Offering to take the kids to the park, or overnight is a priceless gift and allows us time to rest and grieve in privacy.
Tip 6: Invite us over to your home for dinner. There are times when we need the company of others and a break from the home that may be leaving us feeling more empty. Don’t force this on us though, we may not be ready to get out and seeing your family together may remind us of our loss even more. Be sensitive to this and if we turn you down, wait a month or so and ask again. Grief is always changing and our emotions change with it.
If you’ve decided to bring a meal here are a couple things to keep in mind
- Consider using an online meal sign up sheet like the one at Take Them A Meal. Family and friends can sign up for specific dates and keep the act of love going!
- Meals should be easy to transport in your car (you don’t want everything toppling over and ruining your cars upholstery)
- Meals should be easy to prepare and eat (remember we don’t have a lot of energy right now, simple tasks like eating can be hard for us.)
- Meals that freeze well and last at least 2 days in the refrigerator are best (we may not have a big appetite so being able to extend the food out helps)
- Keep in mind some people have allergies so, peanuts for example, may not be the best thing to bring.
- If you bring over a freezer meal attach a note that explains how to cook! (i.e. oven temperature to cook on and how long)
Don’t take it personally if your meal is turned down or doesn’t seem to be appreciated! Most people have a hard time accepting help and we’re no different. No one wants to be “a charity case”, widows included. I remember feeling like I was in a fog, I was so consumed with sadness I completely lost all common courtesy. There were even times where I lashed out at the people closest to me for no reason. I can assure you though despite our overwhelming emotions you are appreciated, even if we don’t show it. This is why I always recommend not asking if it’s ok, or asking what “we need”, just do whatever it is God has placed on your heart. Asking us these questions gives us the opportunity to turn it down, even if we really do need and want the help.
Now that you have all of my top tips for taking a sympathy meal, check out my own favorite recipe!
Give generously and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”
Do you have a delicious, tried and proven recipe that you think would make a good sympathy meal? If so please consider sharing it with us so we can feature it on our site. Simply send in your recipe here.