Where a woman who loses her spouse will often search for and accept being surrounded by women who want to help her, a man who loses his wife will typically separate himself from those around him. His instinct tells him he needs to be strong.
And to him that involves being silent, a way of not revealing or exposing his pain. At a time when he deeply needs to confide in someone, the only one he has learned to trust is no longer in his life.
No matter how much you want to help him and to show him that you care, he will often not open up to you, and may actually push you away.
In that situation, the best support you can give him is to bring another man into his path who has also experienced the loss of his own wife. Often this helps ‘lower or take down’ that imposing wall the new widower has constructed around himself.
Speaking with another man who has been in his shoes, who has learned and chosen to move forward, who can say ‘I felt that way too’ or ‘that seems normal’ should help the new widower fell less isolated, less unique.
The initial conversations between the two of them however, will typically be less in depth than how women share with each other. With time the trust often grows between the two and the conversations will expand.
Men move forward and find healing through participating in activities, doing something they view as constructive. Try to help the new widower get involved in an activity to focus on, something to take his mind away from the emptiness he is experiencing.
And it doesn’t always have to be a ‘physical effort’ project. Sports events, boat rides, even cooking get together’s can be positive escapes for the widower who often feels as if he has suffered a severe personal injury.
Widowed men deeply miss being in the presence of a woman. Women friends of his wife can have a large impact on the ability of the new widower to cope, to help him understand and arrange the many day-to-day duties that his wife used to handle. Most men had no idea of the many things his wife did each day, and now those duties often feel overwhelming, like a huge weight the man must carry with him each day.