7 Lessons COVID Taught Us about Helping Widowed Friends and Planning for Our Own Futures
*Note: The language used in this article mainly focuses on heterosexual couples where a woman has lost a male partner, but we recognize widowhood can take many forms across gender, sexual orientation, and other circumstances.
Over 50 years ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified the five stages of dying in her book, On Death and Dying. Kübler-Ross and her protégé David Kessler later wrote On Grief and Grieving, in which the original stages of death were similar to those experienced by people grieving a loss.
You may have heard of these stages of grief:
While it can be incredibly helpful to know where someone might be in their grief, the authors make it clear that the stages are “not a method for tucking messy emotions into neat packages. They don’t prescribe, they describe.” Each person grieves in their own way, and to think that anyone will follow a simple, 6-step, linear process can be not only inaccurate, but also unfair and even harmful.
Grief is messy and complex, and we often recycle through the many emotions and stages of it. By acknowledging this messiness, you can feel better equipped to support your widowed friends when they don’t follow the healing path you might expect.
A widowed friend may not be able to process everything you say in the early stages of their grief. But that doesn’t mean what you say doesn’t matter. The graphic below shows a few helpful phrases when you’re not sure how to help or what to say:
Phrases to use when supporting widows
To sum it up, acknowledge their grief, create a safe space for them to share (but don’t expect them to), provide specific and actionable support, and normalize whatever they may be feeling.
Since March 2020, we’ve been confronted with death in a more visible way than perhaps ever before. At least 3.8 million people have died of the disease. On top of that, many have lost jobs and income, social support and networks, and other freedoms.
Each of these losses can compound, and if someone hasn’t fully gone through the grief process with a previous loss, they may take a shortcut—what’s called a “false bridge” in their healing journey. What then happens is that pent-up grief will likely rear its head during a future loss.
Sometimes when people fall apart during a “minor” loss, it can just be the cumulative effect of all those previous false bridges they may have taken. Again, grief is complex, and the path to healing can be long and winding.
Planning your financial legacy will help you and your loved ones not just in the future should anything happen to you, but also now as you clarify and communicate what’s most important to you. A legacy often refers to a gift, such as an inheritance, a family business, or property in a will. But it’s not always limited to tangible items. They can also include intangibles like:
One way you can start planning your own legacy is by answering the following questions:
By reflecting on these questions, you can feel peace of mind that what you’re working toward today can have a lasting impact on those you care most about.
At Willow, our perspective is that our differences make us better. We live in a diverse world, and our success depends on our ability to support, embrace and celebrate diversity.
We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and strive to ensure that all voices are valued and heard. By cultivating and upholding a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture where all members, whatever their gender expression, identity, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or ability, feel valued and respected, we are committed to modeling diversity and inclusion, and upholding an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all.
At the heart of Willow is supporting women along their financial journeys. While financial challenges affect all people, we know that women experience unique challenges and our goal is to support them as they navigate their path. We have specific focus in helping women during divorce, widows, those making career decisions and caregivers.
The Willow Pathways plan outlines our deliberate approach and achievable actions that will make Willow diverse and inclusive. Our action plan emphasizes the value of developing a workplace, culture and community that embodies the diversity of our country to advance Willow’s mission to empower women on their financial and life journeys.
We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement. We have a committed focus on strategies to identify, recruit, and retain employees, coaches, advisors, planners, and experts who have been historically underrepresented in the financial services industry, and who reflect the diversity of our society.
Willow is committed to spending time and resources to expand more diverse leadership throughout our company and community. We will lead with respect and tolerance. Via proactive outreach and communication, it is our ongoing goal to promote diversity and inclusion in all workplace interactions and everyday practices. With ownership and accountability plans, we see diversity and inclusion as connected to our mission and the employees and community we serve.
Knowledge & Engagement:
We are dedicated to pursuing cultural competency throughout our organization and community by creating substantive learning opportunities and policies. In working with our networks, we will cultivate a collective effort to pool resources, knowledge and wisdom to expand offerings for underrepresented constituents. Willow welcomes input from our community as we build our diversity, inclusion and equity practices.
The Willow Pathways plan focuses on ensuring that our community can thrive in their financial and life journeys, while providing opportunities to learn about and embrace diverse perspectives. This includes programs, curriculum resources and a welcoming environment for women of color. Every person has a story and Willow is poised to help our clients, coaches, advisors, experts and employees learn from and embrace them.
Our collective work of promoting diversity, inclusion and equity is an ongoing process. Willow is committed to taking real action with both short- and long-term impacts.
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(a) Any and all controversies, disputes, demands, counts, claims, or causes of action (including the interpretation and scope of this clause, and the arbitrability of the controversy, dispute, demand, count, claim, or cause of action) between you and us and our employees, agents, successors, or assigns, regarding or relating to these the Services or these Terms, shall exclusively be settled through binding and confidential arbitration. All disputes and final arbitration to be held in Boston, Massachusetts in the English language and be governed by Massachusetts law.
(b) Arbitration shall be subject to the Federal Arbitration Act and not any state arbitration law. The arbitration shall be conducted before one commercial arbitrator with substantial experience in resolving commercial contract disputes from the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) or JAMS. As modified by these Terms, and unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties in writing, the arbitration will be governed by the AAA’s or JAMS’s rules for commercial arbitration and, if the arbitrator deems them applicable, the procedures for consumer-related disputes.
(c) You are thus giving up your right to go to court to assert or defend your rights except for matters that may be taken to small claims court. your rights will be determined by a neutral arbitrator and not a judge or jury. You are entitled to a fair hearing, but the arbitration procedures are simpler and more limited than rules applicable in court. Arbitrator decisions are as enforceable as any court order and are subject to very limited review by a court.
(d) You and we must abide by the following rules: (1) any claims brought by you or us must be brought in the parties’ individual capacity, and not as a plaintiff or class member in any purported class or representative proceeding; (2) the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person’s claims, may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding, and may not award class-wide relief, (3) in the event that you are able to demonstrate that the costs of arbitration will be prohibitive as compared to costs of litigation, we will pay as much of your filing and hearing fees in connection with the arbitration as the arbitrator deems necessary to prevent the arbitration from being cost-prohibitive as compared to the cost of litigation, (4) we also reserve the right in our sole and exclusive discretion to assume responsibility for all of the costs of the arbitration; (5) the arbitrator shall honor claims of privilege and privacy recognized at law; (6) the arbitrator’s award shall be final and may be enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction; (7) the arbitrator may award any individual relief or individual remedies that are permitted by applicable law; and (8) each side pays its own attorneys’ fees and expenses unless there is a statutory provision that requires the prevailing party to be paid its fees’ and litigation expenses, and then in such instance, the fees and costs awarded shall be determined by the applicable law.
(e) Notwithstanding the foregoing, either you or we may bring an individual action in small claims court. Further, claims of infringement or misappropriation of the other party’s patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret shall not be subject to this arbitration agreement. Such claims shall be exclusively brought in the state or federal courts located in Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, notwithstanding these Terms to arbitrate, either party may seek emergency equitable relief before the state or federal courts located in Boston, Massachusetts in order to maintain the status quo pending arbitration, and hereby agree to submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction of the courts located within Boston, Massachusetts for such purpose. A request for interim measures shall not be deemed a waiver of the right to arbitrate.
(f) With the exception of subparts (1) and (2) in the paragraph 18(d) above (prohibiting arbitration on a class or collective basis), if any part of this arbitration provision is deemed to be invalid, unenforceable or illegal, or otherwise conflicts with the Agreement, then the balance of this arbitration provision shall remain in effect and shall be construed in accordance with its terms as if the invalid, unenforceable, illegal or conflicting provision were not contained herein. If, however, either subparts (1) and (2) in the paragraph 18(d) (prohibiting arbitration on a class or collective basis) is found to be invalid, unenforceable or illegal, then the entirety of this arbitration provision shall be null and void, and neither you nor we shall be entitled to arbitration. If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration, the dispute shall be exclusively brought in state or federal court in Boston, Massachusetts.
(g) Notwithstanding any provision in these Terms to the contrary, if we seek to terminate the Dispute Resolution section as included in the Agreement, any such termination shall not be effective until 30 days after the version of the Agreement not containing the agreement to arbitrate is posted to the Site or Mobile App, and shall not be effective as to any claim of which you provided us with written notice prior to the date of termination. For more information on AAA, its Rules and Procedures, and how to file an arbitration claim, you may call AAA at 800-778-7879 or visit the AAA website at http://www.adr.org. For more information on JAMS, it’s Rules and Procedures, and how to file an arbitration claim, you may call JAMS at 800-352-5267 or visit the JAMS website at http://www.jamsadr.com.
19. GENERAL TERMS. You are responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. The Terms of Service and the relationship between you and Willow will be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without giving effect to any choice of laws principles that would require the application of the laws of a different country or state. Any legal action, suit or proceeding arising out of or relating to the Terms of Service, or your use of the Site, Apps, or Services must be instituted exclusively in the federal or state courts located in Boston, Massachusetts and in no other jurisdiction. You further consent to exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue in, and agree to service of process issued or authorized by, any such court. The Agreement are personal to you, and you may not transfer, assign or delegate your right and/or duties under the Agreement to anyone else and any attempted assignment or delegation is void. You acknowledge that we have the right hereunder to seek an injunction, if necessary, to stop or prevent a breach of your obligations hereunder. The paragraph headings in the Agreement, shown in boldface type, are included only to help make the Agreement easier to read and have no binding effect. Any delay or failure by us to exercise or enforce any right or provision of the Agreement will not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. No waiver by us will have effect unless such waiver is set forth in writing, signed by us; nor will any such waiver of any breach or default constitute a waiver of any subsequent breach or default. The Agreement constitute the complete and exclusive agreement between you and us with respect to the subject matter hereof, and supersedes all prior oral or written understandings, communications or agreements. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision of the Agreement, or portion thereof, to be unenforceable, that provision of the Terms of Service will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to effect the intent of the parties, and the remainder of the Agreement will continue in full force and effect.
20. SURVIVAL. Sections 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, and 11 through 21, as well as any other limitations on liability explicitly set forth herein and our proprietary rights in and to the Site, Content, Our Technology and the Services, will survive the expiration or termination of the Agreement for any reason.
21. NOTICE; VIOLATIONS. We may give notice to you by email, a posting on the Site, or other reasonable means. You must give notice to us in writing via email to email@example.com or as otherwise expressly provided. Please report any violations of the Agreement to firstname.lastname@example.org.
23. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Willow and you acknowledge that this Agreement is concluded between Willow and you only, and not with Apple, Inc., or Google, Inc. Willow, not Apple or Google, is solely responsible for App and the content thereof. To the extent this Agreement provides for usage rules that are less restrictive than or otherwise is in conflict with the usage rules provided by the applicable App Store, the more restrictive term applies.
24. MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT. Willow is solely responsible for providing any maintenance and support services with respect to App, as specified in this Agreement (if any), or as required under applicable law. Willow and you acknowledge that neither Google nor Apple have no obligation whatsoever to furnish any maintenance and support services with respect to App.
25. WARRANTY. Willow is solely responsible for any product warranties, whether express or implied by law, to the extent not effectively disclaimed. In the event of any failure of App to conform to any applicable warranty, you may notify Apple, and Apple will refund the purchase price for App to you; and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, neither Apple nor Google will have any other warranty obligation whatsoever with respect to App, and any other claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs or expenses attributable to any failure to conform to any warranty will be Willow’s sole responsibility.
26. PRODUCT CLAIMS. Willow and you acknowledge that Willow, not Apple or Google, is responsible for addressing any claims of you or any third party relating to App or your possession and/or use of App, including, but not limited to: (a) product liability claims; (b) any claim that App fails to conform to any applicable legal or regulatory requirement; and (c) claims arising under consumer protection or similar legislation. This Agreement does not limit Willow’s liability to you beyond what is permitted by applicable law. You acknowledge and agree that the applicable Partner and not Willow, is responsible for addressing any claims of you or any third party relating to any Partner Content, including, but not limited to: (a) product liability claims; (b) any claim that App fails to conform to any applicable legal or regulatory requirement; and (c) claims arising under consumer protection or similar legislation.
27. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. Willow and you each acknowledge that, in the event of any third party claim that App or your possession and use of App infringes that third party’s intellectual property rights, Willow, not Apple or Google, will be solely responsible for the investigation, defense, settlement and discharge of any such intellectual property infringement claim. You acknowledge that, in the event of any third party claim that any Partner Content or your possession and use of any Partner Content infringes that third party’s intellectual property rights, privacy, rights, publicity rights, or is otherwise fraudulent deceptive, or unfair, the applicable partner, and not Willow, will be solely responsible for the investigation, defense, settlement and discharge of any such complaint or claim.
2. A NOTE ABOUT CHILDREN. We do not intentionally gather Personal Data about visitors who are under the age of 13.
4. TYPES OF DATA WE COLLECT. Company collects Personal Data and Anonymous Data from you when you visit our site, when you send us or our Coaches information or communications, and/or when you download and use our Products. ‘Personal Data’ means data that allows someone to identify or contact you, including, for example, your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, as well as any other non-public information about you that is associated with or linked to any of the foregoing data. ‘Anonymous Data’ means data that is not associated with or linked to your Personal Data. Anonymous Data does not permit the identification of individual persons. We collect Personal Data and Anonymous Data, as described below.
Personal Data You Provide to Us. We collect Personal Data from you, such as your email address when you provide it voluntarily on the Site. If you provide us feedback or contact us via e-mail (e.g., in response to an employment opportunity posted on our website), we will collect your name and e-mail address, as well as any other content included in the e-mail, in order to send you a reply, and any information that you submit to us, such as a resume. When you participate in one of our surveys, we may collect additional profile information. When you post messages on the message boards of our website, the information contained in your posting will be stored on our servers and other users will be able to see it. We also collect other types of Personal Data that you provide to us voluntarily, such as your Twitter name or Facebook profile. We may also collect Personal Data, such as demographic information from you via the Products or at other points in our website that state that Personal Data is being collected.
Recordings. By using our Services you consent to the audio or video recording of conversations between your Coach and yourself and the use of such recordings and any data relating thereto by Willow in order to improve the services and products offered by Willow. Any data from such recordings shall only be used in to improve our Services as described in the section titled “Creation of Anonymized Data” below.
Willow is a member of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) self-regulatory program and adheres to the DAA self-regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. We work with a variety of advertisers, ad networks and analytics companies (“Ad Partners”) that collect information about your use of our services. You can opt out of the use of interest-based advertising at any time by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance consumer choice page.
Our Relationship with Social Networking Sites. We have created, and may offer You, interfaces that allow You to connect with social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter (‘SN Sites’) through our Site. We will work with the SN Site’s application protocol interface (better known as their developer API) in a way that allows You to authorize us to access Your account on that SN Site on Your behalf. In order to provide this authorization, You will not provide us with Your user name or password to the SN Site, but You will need to log-in to that SN Site directly through our Site. Once authorized by You, the SN Site will provide us a token that allows the SN Site to recognize us when we ask, on Your behalf, for access to Your account information or to post information. You will be able to revoke our access to any SN Site at any time by amending the appropriate settings from within Your account settings on the applicable SN Site, though such revocation may limit the Services we are able to provide You.
5. USE OF YOUR DATA.
General Use. In general, Personal Data you submit to us is used either to respond to requests that you make, or to aid us in serving you better. Company uses your Personal Data in the following ways:
Creation of Anonymous Data. We may create Anonymous Data records from Personal Data by excluding information (such as your name) that make the data personally identifiable to you. We use this Anonymous Data to analyze request and usage patterns so that we may enhance the content of our products and services and improve site navigation. Company reserves the right to use and disclose Anonymous Data to Third Party Companies in its discretion. [a]
6. DISCLOSURE OF YOUR PERSONAL DATA.
Other Disclosures. Regardless of any choices you make regarding your Personal Data (as described below), Company may disclose Personal Data if it believes in good faith that such disclosure is necessary to: (a) comply with relevant laws or to respond to subpoenas or warrants served on Company; or (b) protect or defend the rights or property of Company or users of the Products or related services.
7. THIRD PARTIES.
Personal and/or Anonymous Data Collected by Third Parties. We may receive Personal and/or Anonymous Data about you from other sources like telephone or fax, or from companies that provide our products or services by way of a co-branded or private-labeled website or companies that offer their products and/or services on our website (‘Third Party Companies’). Our Third Party Companies may supply us with Personal Data, such as your email address, in order to help us establish the account. We may add this information to the information we have already collected from you via our website in order to improve the products and services we provide.
Our provision of a link to any other website or location, such as the payment processing websites, is for your convenience and does not signify our endorsement of such other website or location or its contents. When you click on such a link, you will leave our site and go to another site. During this process, another entity may collect Personal Data or Anonymous Data from you.
Disclosure to Third Party Service Providers. Except as otherwise stated in this policy, we do not generally sell, trade, share, or rent the Personal Data collected from our services to other entities. However, we may share your Personal Data with third party service providers to facilitate creation of accounts or to provide services to us that enable us to make the Site or Services available to you or to our Coaches to provide a service to you. You expressly consent to the sharing of your Personal Data with our contractors and other service providers for the sole purpose of providing services to you.
Disclosure to Third Party Companies. We may enter into agreements with Third Party Companies. A Third Party Company may want access to Personal Data that we collect from its customers. As a result, we may disclose your Personal Data to a Third Party Company. The privacy policies of our Third Party Companies may apply to the use and disclosure of your Personal Data that we collect and disclose to such Third Party Companies. Because we do not control the privacy practices of our Third Party Companies, you should read and understand their privacy policies.
NOTICE TO CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS – YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS (AS PROVIDED BY CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 1798.83).
A CALIFORNIA RESIDENT WHO HAS PROVIDED PERSONAL DATA TO A BUSINESS WITH WHOM HE/SHE HAS ESTABLISHED A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP FOR PERSONAL, FAMILY, OR HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES (A ‘CALIFORNIA CUSTOMER’), MAY REQUEST INFORMATION ABOUT WHETHER THE BUSINESS HAS DISCLOSED PERSONAL INFORMATION TO ANY THIRD PARTIES FOR THE THIRD PARTIES’ DIRECT MARKETING PURPOSES. IN GENERAL, IF THE BUSINESS HAS MADE SUCH A DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL DATA, UPON RECEIPT OF A REQUEST BY A CALIFORNIA CUSTOMER, THE BUSINESS IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A LIST OF ALL THIRD PARTIES TO WHOM PERSONAL DATA WAS DISCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, AS WELL AS A LIST OF THE CATEGORIES OF PERSONAL DATA THAT WERE DISCLOSED. CALIFORNIA CUSTOMERS MAY REQUEST FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT OUR COMPLIANCE WITH THIS LAW BY E-MAILING LACY@TRUSTWILLOW.COM. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE REQUIRED TO RESPOND TO ONE REQUEST PER CALIFORNIA CUSTOMER EACH YEAR, AND WE ARE NOT REQUIRED TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS MADE BY MEANS OTHER THAN THROUGH THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS.
8. YOUR CHOICES REGARDING YOUR PERSONAL DATA.
Changes to Personal Data. You may request deletion of your Personal Data by us, but please note that we may be required (by law or otherwise) to keep this information and not delete it (or to keep this information for a certain time, in which case we will comply with your deletion request only after we have fulfilled such requirements). When we delete any information, it will be deleted from the active database, but may remain in our archives.
9. SECURITY OF YOUR PERSONAL DATA. Company is committed to protecting the security of your Personal Data. We use a variety of industry-standard security technologies and procedures to help protect your Personal Data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Despite these measures, you should know that Company cannot fully eliminate security risks associated with Personal Data and mistakes may happen.
Willow Network, Inc
Attn: Lacy Garcia
226 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA
11. DISPUTE RESOLUTION. If you believe that Company has not adhered to this Statement, please contact Company by email at email@example.com. We will do our best to address your concerns. If you feel that your complaint has been addressed incompletely, we invite you to let us know for further investigation.
[a] This is addressed more fully in the TOS.