The 23rd of June is globally recognised as International Widows’ Day and it was launched by the United Nations in 2010 to raise awareness about how widows rights are violated. With the way some widows are stripped off their entitlements and mistreated after they are bereaved, this initiative is totally welcome and I feel like it should be talked about everyday. What better time is there to re-sensitize us on how to take care of a widow?
Asides making general donation for widows in church when prompted, this is the first time I am actively participating on personal basis as i just got off a phone conversation with the last out of three mums assigned to me by a Non Governmental Organisation I actively volunteer with. Find us here
We had previously taken the initiative to collate numbers of some widows with the intention to put a call through to them today. The idea is to encourage and pray with them via a phone conversation. Saying I feel elated about this outreach albeit online, is an understatement. It felt so heartwarning listening to them express their excitement about the phone call, i smiled as i patiently explained to the sceptical mums and also hearing them say a resounding ‘Amen’ to the prayers was uplifting.
I will not be quick to say I understand how widows feel, but having lost my dad last year and watching my mum go through the period, I cannot but help to admire the strenght and tenacity of widows and how the they manage to gradually come out of a depressing situation. It is always a struggle.
Coupled with the mourning period, widows around the world have had to manage excesses from uncaring inlaws and basically have to struggle for a means to survive. From training the children alone to finding accommodation or getting a job that pays well e.t.c
However, this is not the story of every widow as some have a job or skill they can fall back to, others are blessed with caring in laws while some have grown up children or family that can assist them.
Whatever the case, widows are human beings too, they deserve to be happy and a means of livelihood. They should not lose their status after losing their husband. It makes me so happy to see that some non governmental organisations have made effort to empower widows who are in need, churches also recognise widows and help them one way or the other and I am eternally grateful to every individual who looks after a widow in their family.
Giving a helping hand to someone in need is always encouraged. It does not have to be elaborate before you help, the very little things count too and every individual should at one point be sensitive to a widows feelings. If you have no idea how to care for a widow, find six ways you can help a widow create a life that is meaningful and less hurtful:
1. Respect A Widow
A widow is first a human being and should never be mocked or looked down on. It is sad to hear that some communities still enforce certain traditional rules on widows without any care for their feelings. Widows deserve to be respected because hurting their feelings means leaving the wounds constantly open.
2. Empower A Widow
There are already a lot of individuals and organisations standing in the gap and ensuring widows acquire skills that can help them earn a living. I found Godswives and so far, i think they have done very well in Lagos, Nigeria. We can empower widows by offering to pay the cost of acquiring skills like sewing, catering and even hair making. There are a lot of skill that can be offered to widows.
“Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach him to fish; feed him for a life time” – Lao Tzu
3. Keep The Promise You Make To A Widow.
Failing to keep promises made to a widow makes her remember how things would not have been as bad if her husband was alive. If you promise to visit, show up. If you promise to call back, do so. If you promise to take up a bill, do so. Do not leave them stranded.
4. Offer To Be Physically Available For A Widow.
Losing a Partner means more responsibility for the woman. More chores to do, more errands to run, more people to take care of e.t.c. One way to care for a widow is by being physically available to help with activities she is involved in. She might not be helpless but offering to be available makes her feel cared for and reminds her she is not alone.
5. Be Mentally, Emotionally and Spiritually Supportive.
At the early stage of losing a partner, widows are very delicate and their thought process might not be as stable as you assume. From drifting into deep thoughts to silent or even loud cries, they go through every thing that could trigger mental health issues. One way to show you care is by being supportive mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Say encouraging words, speak positively around them, assure them of your support, pray with them, check on them at intervals, have someone visit them from time to time if you are unavailable e.t.c
6. Give, Give, Give
Again, not every widow might be in need of money or clothes. Find out what a particular widow desire in your community and help her get it. It could be calling her constantly, financial assistance, a good laugh, sending her groceries, sorting utility bills, inviting her to events. Widows have the right to live a good life and it is important that we help the ones around us stay happy.
One can never plan for the loss of a loved one and it a trying period for the bereaved. It helps to be sensitive towards their emotion, caring and supportive. If you ever have to witness a widow being mistreated, please speak up for them and let us gradually end the stigma associated with widows.
Share your thoughts
Have you had to witness a widow being mistreated?
How will you help a widow if you had the chance?
I will love to read from you