Adjusting to widowhood

Debbie called Thoughtful Engagement® because she was distressed about her mother, Peggy. It had been five months since her father had died and Peggy still rarely left the house. Most worrisome to Debbie was that Peggy had stopped going to church. Peggy said it was too hard because she didn’t like crying when people came up to ask how she was doing. Debbie lived far away and couldn’t go with her. It upset her to see her mom now coping with a double loss: Loss of her husband and loss of her church community.

To introduce Thoughtful Engagement, Debbie told Peggy she had found an organization that helps people talk about and do the activities they enjoy. Peggy said she’d be willing to have a visit and try it out. Debbie had mentioned that her mother loved flowers, so the Thoughtful Engagement specialist brought some roses, some peruvian lilies, and a splashy sunflower when she came to visit. Peggy quickly popped them in a vase and positioned them in a pattern she called an “elliptical arrangement.” They spent much of their visit talking about flowers and which ones worked best in harmony with each other.

For the next visit they decided to go to the flower shop together, and Peggy picked out flowers for a cascading arrangement. The specialist took pictures and sent them to Debbie, who was amazed!

The specialist also found a field trip at the local senior center that was going to the botanical gardens about forty miles away. She and Peggy took the van together, and by the end of the trip, Peggy was chatting with others and feeling much more comfortable doing something social without her husband.

With Peggy’s permission, the specialist called the church and asked if there were any parishioners that might want to come over to Peggy’s and create floral displays for the weekly church service. Indeed there were! Emboldened by her new social confidence, she eventually said yes when a parishioner offered to pick her up and take her to the Sunday service. Peggy is now more comfortable going to church. And she’s even started participating in activities at the senior center, where she has a fresh start since no one there even knew her husband. They just meet her as Peggy and don’t think of her as a widow.

“I just love the way Thoughtful Engagement really took in who Mom is and helped her find herself as separate from Dad. She’s not only comfortable at church now, but she’s also making new friends at the senior center.”
—Debbie, Peggy’s daughter

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