How did I end up here?

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

9 thoughts on “How did I end up here?

  1. Robin Bailey says:

    Oh hugs sweet lady. And my next door neighbor unwillingly and unexpectedly joined your club last year. My heart breaks for each and every one of you. I truly can’t fathom what you are all going through. God’s plan simply has to be trusted because it surely makes no sense from down here sometimes. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy Cornish says:

    Oh how I love you sweet Elizabeth and realized more this week than ever before how lucky I am to have that person that aggravates the hell out of me on a daily basis and that I personally will never completely understand, but, I would not change him for any thing in this world. The struggles are real not only for the women that have lost a husband but for those that try to understand or change their husband. Just stop…don’t try and change or understand them. I love that you say in more words than any other that I have ever read. which I am truly blessed to read, just let them be themselves and love them for who they are…(PERIOD)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisa Goodrich Evans says:

    Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth. As always, I’ve learned a great deal from your post. I love and respect you so much!!

    Like

  4. Jayne Lybrand says:

    Elizabeth I hear your heart .. I hurt for all you are going through. Your writing is echoing so many women worldwide who don’t have anyone who understands them.. your seating may be becoming their voice. I felt the pictures you painted making you feel even more alone. I’m praying and have tears of joy for your ability to describe this pain, loss and difficulty to understand how and why you are here at this moment in time.. Lord lift my baby up to keep pouring these awkward feelings out for us all to see how deep and strange this journey must be.. please keep your voice going… I love you more than ever .. momma

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Theresa Breiner says:

    Elizabeth, you are a blessing to whoever you come in contact with❤️ I cannot imagine the ongoing pain and trying to find a new normal. God introduced you to Natalie, no doubt. You are a beautiful soul💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Janice Richardson says:

    Thank you for sharing Elizabeth and for the reminder of what you need most. A friend of mine lost her husband to cancer last winter and I would like to share this with her. I pray God gives.you peace and strength and the friendships that you need.

    Like

  7. Kathryn Zetterstrom says:

    I want to join your group! Everything you say is spot on and EXACTLY what I too experienced after the sudden loss of my husband. Even though it’s been almost 13 years, not a day passes that I don’t mourn his loss.

    Well said, Elizabeth.

    Like

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