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On today’s Intelligent Money Minute, we’ll interview Kathleen Rehl on how to help a new widow, and things not to say. Kathleen initially gives the advice to simply listen to a widow. Such a simple gesture may sound easy, but it is often more difficult than expected. Let her recall memories, remembering her husband, and even letting her cry. This simple act of kindness, listening, goes further than one might imagine. Next, Kathleen gives advice on what not to say to a widow. Phrases such as “I’m so sorry for your loss,” or “at least you still have your children, etc.” are not helpful. Instead, these phrases can be more self-focused than thoughtful. A more insightful phrase may be, “I can’t begin to understand your loss, but I’m going to be here with you.” Lastly, Kathleen mentions how much more beneficial specific questions or gestures may be. Asking “How are you eating/sleeping?” or offering to come over for a visit may be greatly appreciated.
Talking about spouses that have passed away can be difficult, but part of the healing process for a widow. Consider removing cliché phrases such as “At least…., and I’m sorry.” and replacing them with heartfelt questions such as “How are you eating? How are you sleeping.” Let the widow know you are going to be there for them in the days and weeks ahead and consider scheduling a coffee or tea to spend genuine time listening to their grief. For more information on widows, visit our website page for widows by going to investedwithyou.com.
On upcoming podcasts, Kathleen will talk about the three stages of widowhood- Grief, Growth, and Grace, so be sure to subscribe by clicking here.
Kathleen Rehl Bio
Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, CeFT® wrote the multi-award-winning book, Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows. Experiencing widowhood herself, Dr. Rehl empowers widows financially™ and inspires their advisors. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, AARP Bulletin, CNBC, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Journal of Financial Service Professionals, Journal of Financial Planning, and other publications. Rehl owned a financial planning firm for 17 years before retiring to her “encore” career. She walks an hour daily, practices yoga, enjoys art and music festivals, writes poetry and makes art, loves her grandsons . . . and continues to evolve on her journey.