The answer to this is, of course, yes! The passing of a loved one is a difficult time for anyone, but it can be especially painful when someone loses a spouse or close companion.
It is very common in the days following the loss of a loved one for the surviving spouse to be surrounded by friends and family. However, in the weeks and months following the loss, that support tends to fall off. This can lead to feelings of loneliness for the surviving spouse.
One thing that supportive friends and family might worry about is whether to invite a grieving widow or widower to a social function. You may worry that you will draw attention to their loss. Or you may worry that they will feel like a "third wheel” if they are surrounded by other couples. Often, these concerns mean that friends and family simply stop inviting the widow or widower to social events.
But just because someone is grieving doesn’t mean they don’t want to attend social functions. Often it is just the opposite. Social events can be a welcome distraction. These events can also help combat loneliness after the initial round of support fades away.
A great way to show support to someone in mourning is to include them in your invitations. Extending an invitation shows them that you value their friendship. Most likely, they will sincerely appreciate the invitation.
Of course, it’s also important to remember to leave room for them to say no. Grief is complicated, and everyone handles it differently. Some people may feel up for social activities, while others won’t. However, simply extending an invitation will show the surviving spouse that they are still appreciated and welcome - which can go a long way towards combating feelings of loneliness and isolation.
And remember, just because someone says no one day doesn’t mean they will say no the next time. Continue to extend invitations and encourage them to come out when they are ready.