The impetus for this site really starts here. I lost my husband, Ken, in May of 2017.

There were many things I wasn’t sure how to do. Sometimes I followed advice and it was wrong. Sometimes I simply didn’t even know that I was supposed to do something. To be honest, I didn’t even think to Google® it. (Plus, I’m cheap and wouldn’t want to pay for advice even if I had thought to look it up.)

My notes on who I called, what paperwork I filled out, what actions I took, were scattered on sticky notes, note pads, and across about half a dozen notebooks. Basically, whatever was handy at the time. I found myself calling organizations saying, “I’m so sorry, I don’t remember if I’ve called you.” That was not like me at all.

I didn’t want anybody else to go through the same frustration. Administration is one of my gifts, so I created a widow’s checklist in a spreadsheet. But then I realized that many items needed more explanation and so I created a companion document to go alongside the checklist. I’ve provided these documents to a number of people who’ve lost loved ones. Most have said they found the information very helpful.

I am not an attorney. I am not providing legal advice. I’m simply sharing information that a few friends and I thought would be helpful. It is not all-encompassing as everyone has different experiences. However, my hope is that it will bring some structure and calm to what can be a chaotic, stressful experience. And that it will be a good starting point for you.

Widow’s Guide Checklist

This spreadsheet provides a practical list of some of the things that need to be done.

Widow’s Guide Companion Document

This document goes into greater detail about the topics found in the checklist.
It also includes some “things that surprised us.”

Additional Resources

For the resources I did not create – I will only suggest those that I have used and found helpful.

GriefShare – This 13 week program includes a workbook, video and live discussions. There are thousands of GriefShare support groups occurring throughout the U.S. To look for one in your area, click on the GriefShare link. I have facilitated two of these programs as a service for my church. It is definitely not easy – but those who’ve stayed with it say that it has helped them a great deal. (It even helped me and I didn’t realize I had needed help – I was after all – the facilitator!)

The ABC’s of Healthy Grieving – I love this book because it provides helpful insights in two pages. Sometimes you are simply in a fog and you need quick, easy guidance. This book covers topics such as “Allow for individual differences in grieving within families,” “Anticipate the holiday blues,” “Pamper Yourself,” and “Quit urging yourself to “get over it”.” I have ordered many copies of this book for friends.