How to be a friend to a young widow

Those of you who are local Arkansans reading my blog have certainly heard of the tragic loss of local TV anchor Matt Turner. He was in a car accident and leaves behind a wife Julee and a 10-month-old baby girl.

Matt, Julee and Preslee Turner

Matt, Julee, and baby Preslee

If you’ve been around long enough you also know that in 2006 I lost my first husband. The circumstances are different, but a lot of the feelings are similar.

In fact, losing Marshall is part of what kicked off my blogging habit. I just did it somewhere else. See his CaringBridge page here:

Marshall Johnson
Marshall Johnson, II

Today would’ve been our wedding anniversary, which may be why I am so affected by the Turner story even though I did not know Matt and do not know his wife Julee.

I wanted to post this tomorrow so that I could get past the day, but to honor Matt a lot of bloggers are observing a “day of blogging silence” tomorrow. So you won’t hear from me here.

Gratefully, I have been blessed with Steve (or Evolved Daddy to some), who is just so unbelievably supportive, caring and well-adjusted to this whole thing. I want you to know that I do not dwell on the past, but I do acknowledge it.

Marshall was a powerful/meaningful/special/huge part of my life. Really, there are no one word to describe the impact. He was loved. And is missed.

The days, weeks and months immediately following his death are a blur, but I want to share with you some of the things that meant the most to me.

How to be a friend to a young widow

  • Talk about her husband (or his wife if the roles are reversed). I know you don’t want to cause pain, but even if you aren’t talking about him I can guarantee she is thinking about him and it would mean the world to her to know that you care enough to talk, listen or share a story.
  • Let her ramble
  • Send her cards. Send one every day if you feel so lead. Write something on paper, invest in a stamp and mail it. Going to the mailbox every day and seeing notes and cards (and some pictures) touched my heart.
  • If you want to cry, cry. Do not try to be strong for her.
  • If you want to laugh, laugh.
  • Feed her. She will forget to eat, but keep it healthy if possible. There’s no comfort in losing your husband and gaining 15 lbs. There are plenty of healthy-ish comfort foods on Pinterest.
  • Call her. Even if she doesn’t answer just knowing you called matters.
  • 5, 10, 15 years from now when life has gone on this will still be a huge part of her life. If she ever wants to talk about it let her. Even if she’s remarried. Yes, it can be weird and awkward. That’s okay.
  • Pray for her. She will feel it.
  • If she doesn’t want to leave the house for a few days don’t force it. She will eventually.


Silent Auction for Julee

On Monday a lot of bloggers will be participating in a special blog silent auction to benefit Julee and Preslee. Read the details on Life {Sweet} Life

The power of friendship and social media is mind-blowing.


Jenna’s Journey

Kelly’s Korner 

If you think this post could help someone else please share it freely. Thanks for being here.

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