I am sharing this writing from a friend who recently lost her spouse...with permission.
Random Other, Please Don't:
...ask me what I need. I can barely remember to breath; I'm in a fog that is indescribable. Instead of asking, just do whatever you think you can.
...tell me that I am strong. I am barely keeping my head above water. Being strong doesn't help me maneuver my new life that I cannot even fathom.
...be afraid to talk to me. Trust me, you are not going to bring up a topic that I have forgotten. I promise I think about my loss the moment I wake up, all day long, and it's the last thing I think about every day.
...tell me at least...It probably won't make me feel better knowing my spouse had a long life or didn't suffer in the end. Also, you probably shouldn't assume you know the circumstances, because you probably don't know everything. Eventually these things will matter and help us heal, but immediately following a death this does not.
...send me flowers. I know it is meant to be a gesture, but clearing out a houseful of dead plants and removing the shrine to your beloved is a really tough thing to do. Send a living plant; I at least have a shot of keeping it alive.
...act like nothing has happened. I am learning how to live a completely new life. I don't even know where to sleep in my own bed anymore.
...disappoint me. If you say you are here to help, then please insist on helping. There is a high probability I will not call you.