A little over a year ago, I mustered up enough courage to attend an evening get together at my church with the goal of meeting some friends and beginning my attempt to fit in without Jeff. I was on time and was surprised to find the doors locked. I was a week early. I mustered again and showed up on the correct day and stood at the entrance of a large room. Ladies were seated at tables and seemed to all know one another. I knew no one but my pastor’s wife who greeted me with a hug and a compliment about my newly blue hair. Not sure why, but I saw a welcoming face and sat at her table. Her name was Natalie and she was friendly, and had a fully intact family. As we rounded the table telling our stories, I couldn’t avoid the fact that I had lost my husband to brain cancer and was living out the grieving process while trying to figure out what my life would become. You could cut the discomfort with a knife.
As has happened many times when I tell my story, everyone was silent. Natalie had a healthy husband and sons. I didn’t go back to the group. Not because of her story, but because there were no stories like my own. No one could relate to the loss of a life partner. One sweet lady explained that she had been divorced and understood exactly how I felt. The other women just didn’t know what to say at all; however, Natalie was an empathetic listener and allowed me to express my pain without trying to make a connection to herself. I also realized how many lives depend on another person staying alive. Most people assume that their spouse will be there for the porch rocking and grand-baby days. I’m not sure if jealously was at the core of what I felt, but I was angry that everyone around me had their husband with whom future plans were discussed and assumptions of continued living were a sure thing.
Natalie’s husband died suddenly last week. My heart breaks for her because I know there was no way she saw it coming. School had just begun and now there she is with her sons figuring out how to live without her husband. I know her loss and I feel her heart bleeding.
September 19 will mark three years since Jeff went to be with the Lord. Unfortunately, there is a big need for someone to listen and connect to women who have lost their husband. Friends, pastors, family, and neighbors have asked me to speak with 7 of these dear women in the span of 3 years. Seven women who woke up alone after years of sharing their life with the man they loved. I’m especially fond of my new friend from Poland who is game to start up a small group with me. Widowed women also need a place in the church and in social circles, but the world in which we used to live was and continues to be so very couples-dominated. I tried to attend some events by myself and felt like I was either being coddled or avoided because people didn’t know what to say or do.
WE WANT YOU TO SEE US AND WELCOME US AND TALK ABOUT WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF OUR HUSBAND. WE WANT YOU TO OFFER TO HELP AND ENCOURAGE US. PLEASE DO NOT BE AFRAID OF US. WE DO NOT WANT HIM TO BE FORGOTTEN AND WE ALSO NEED YOU TO KEEP TRYING TO CONNECT WITH US NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE THINK WE DON’T NEED TO CONNECT WITH YOU.
I definitely am an introvert and often prefer my dogs and hummingbirds to a conversation with a human, but there is no substitute for people that care, and we all need that. Natalie, Elizabeth, Vanessa, Margie, Debbie, Salina, Shelly, Tradona, and anyone else I forgot, God has a plan for us and we must continue to trust in His goodness. I love you all. Every person that hasn’t lost a spouse, hold on to them. Let them have their way. Indulge in their interests and wishes and just soak them up like a sponge. Rejoice in yourself and allow him to let his man weird fly. Don’t wait for tomorrow–say it and do it today.
For some reason, ladies, God allowed our husband to leave us. I believe in His perfect plan and that must mean that He thinks we can do this. I wore myself out the first couple of years trying to prove that I could and now I am resting in His arms and taking naps whenever possible.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4