Are there unspoken rules for grieving or helping a friend after their loss? Many people assume a “widower’ is the person who passed away—knowing the correct terminology is important. A “widow” is a woman who lost her spouse, whereas a “widower” is a man who lost his wife. “Widowhood,” on the other hand, is the actual state of being widowed.
Losing your significant other is a moment in your life you’ll never fully recover from. You can move on, but that takes time and emotional healing. This comprehensive guide to learning proper etiquette for widows will help you on your journey to improving your current mental state.
We also want to note, if you recently lost your life partner, we are terribly sorry for your loss.
Wear appropriate attire for the funeral
When a widow attends her deceased husband’s funeral, she is expected to wear all black. Searching for black dresses for women online may seem like a daunting task, but there’s no rush. Take your time and choose the one you really want, even if you’ll never wear it again.
You can consider black denim, a little black dress, black cocktail dresses, or one with nice lace trim. Maybe one of your friends will buy you a gift card, considering the costly expenses of the funeral itself.
Did your husband want to be cremated?
You and your husband probably spoke about planning for tragedies such as this. Maybe he wanted to be cremated—maybe he wanted his ashes spread on the beach where you first exchanged the words “I love you.” The right thing to do is follow his wishes, even if his wishes aren’t what you want.
Consider leaving your wedding ring on for now
Weddings rings symbolize the love you feel for one another— by now, your ring feels like a part of your body. When you are all alone and brimful with loving memories, your ring can serve as a constant reminder of your spouse. This can be emotionally painful.
Wearing your ring is completely up to you. While some proper etiquette sites claim that you should continue to wear your ring for at least six months, it’s really personal preference. Many widows place their wedding ring on their right ring fingers, and that is OK, too. This shows ongoing love without symbolizing a continuing marriage.
People should still address you as ”Mrs.”
Suffering a terrible loss doesn’t mean you instantly become a “miss.” You are a widow— not just a single woman up for grabs. The etiquette for addressing widows is still referring to them as “Mrs.” — not “Miss.”
An incorrect title can cause tears, distress, or irritability from the woman who is still in the midst of the grieving process. Friends, family members, and associates should know how to fill out envelopes when they are mailing sympathy cards.
When can you date again?
There isn’t a specified time for when a widow can start dating again. The stages of grief are individualized and person-dependent. Some women take weeks, months, or years before embracing new partnerships. And some widows refuse to ever date again.
Your friends and family will have their own opinions on what is too soon, but you are in charge of your life. Only you will know when you are ready to begin dating. Don’t allow judgment from others to affect your decision making. So long as you are healed, and your new date isn’t just a distraction from the pain of your loss, you have the green light to proceed.
Dating doesn’t mean that you stopped loving your deceased husband— it means you successfully practiced acceptance and are moving on with your life. The act of accepting something isn’t the same as forgetting. You will never forget the beautiful memories and moments you shared with your loved one.