Widow Strength

A Widow's Walk with the Strength of God


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Easter Healing

I had planned to write at least once a week.  So much for plans.  Actually that’s a pretty good slogan for my new uninvited life as widow:  “So Much for Plans”.

But I did want to talk about an especially significant and encouraging episode.  I visited my stepdaughters and granddaughters for Easter weekend.  They live over three hours away, so it’s an event when I go, requiring a sleepover and such.  I opted to stay with the older daughter so I could spend more time with my 9-year old granddaughter.  I feel compelled to specify that they are my ‘stepchildren’ merely by way of full disclosure.  I never had children of my own, but they are truly family to me.   His two daughters have known me most of their lives, and lived with us for periods of time during their childhood.  They love me, I love them.  It’s a blessing beyond measure.  And my grandchildren have known me all their lives as one of their grandmothers.  Actually, they call me Bunny.  Long story.

Anyway, two years ago I made the same trip to spend Easter with them.  I won’t say it was a mistake, but it was awful.  It was only weeks since he had died.   I thought it would be good for all of us to spend time together and celebrate the Holy Resurrection of our Lord.  I thought Easter would be a symbol of hope and would help the healing begin.  And I wanted to establish right away that I was still very much in their lives and would not fade away or leave them.

I had no idea how painful it would be for all of us.  Almost unbearable really.  We were ALL hurting so much we could barely breathe.  It was so obvious who was missing.  Of course, this was going to happen at some point, but the problem was, we were all invited to Easter dinner at the in-laws of my oldest granddaughter.  They knew that Buddy had passed recently, but they didn’t know him, and couldn’t really grasp the extent of our sorrow and grief.  Everyone was trying to put on a happy face for the holiday celebration and it made things so much worse.  What we really needed was to openly grieve together, but instead we found ourselves in the middle of a pathetic charade.

For me personally, one of the hardest parts was the three hour drive each way.  Alone.  Oh man.  Yes, it is possible to drive three hours straight with tears in your eyes.  Not recommended.

BUT, let’s get to the good news.  Since that disastrous weekend I have visited them a few times and each trip has gotten less painful.  I did avoid going for Easter last year, after that first time.  But this year it seemed right to go.  And I am so glad I went.  Even the drive was painless.  I have had two years to get accustomed to driving myself everywhere, including my visits with them, and repeatedly doing things that were at first painful does heal me.  I enjoyed my time with each one of them.   I felt more like myself in conversations with them.  I even held my brand new great-granddaughter for the first time. Without a melt-down.  (And for the record I am WAY too young to be a great-grandmother.  Ahem.)

After I got back home I felt peace and joy.  And it occurred to me that for the first time, I felt as if I was visiting them as me.  Not as ‘me without him’.  That is huge.  A milestone to be celebrated.  I am establishing my own relationship with them.

Thank You God for healing.  Thank You for helping his children, grandchildren and me to grow in strength and love.

 

 


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His Birthday

So today is his birthday.  And to borrow a phrase, he is spending his birthday with Jesus this year.

He never expected to live to be old.  Even before any cancer, he just never thought he would live that long.  Each birthday he celebrated, he considered a great gift.

It’s a difficult day for me, but not unbearable.  I am happy that he is safe and joyful and whole in heaven with the Lord.  A pretty good way to spend your birthday actually.  And I can definitely live with that.

 

 


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Unexpected Consequences

When I became the sole occupant of my home two years ago, I began to notice some everyday situations I never would have thought of before. Just silly things that came to my attention.  For instance, several weeks after his passing, as I was changing the sheets on our king size bed, it occurred to me that I was washing a perfectly clean pillowcase every week.  And sheets that were only half used.  I mentioned this to a widow friend of mine.  She said she realized the same thing.  Said she was considering that she could save water and laundry detergent by simply spinning the sheets around so the unused side was now her side, and switching pillowcases.  She hadn’t tried it yet.  I wonder if she ever did.

Also, gray underwear.  With just me in the house, there was very little laundry to do.  My ‘white load’ was little more than a few pairs of underwear and a few socks and blouses.  My dark load wasn’t much more.  So I thought what the heck, why not just combine them in one load?

Gray underwear.

 

 


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His Top Drawer

Several weeks after my husband’s passing I found the strength to rid our closet of most of his clothes and shoes.  Same with his dresser drawers and his bathroom.  The sight of all his clothes hanging there ready to be worn, with the smell of his cologne still clinging to them, was too much to bear after awhile.  His shoes still loosely lined up on the closet floor made it seem as if he would just be back in a minute to put on a pair and walk out to get the mail.  All his things just seemed to be waiting for him to return and resume his life.  It was too much.  So I set about the business of sorting it through, throwing away some, giving away some, and zipping some of his best silk shirts into garment bags to remain in the closet.  Till further notice.  I also saved some of his best almost-new ‘Italian guy’ shoes to give to someone special, or sell on eBay at a later date.  I also saved a few of the shirts in his drawers.  Ziplocked them and stored them, sealed up like museum pieces I guess.

But his top drawer was a different story.  You know the top drawer.  The drawer where a man keeps his stuff.  From trinkets and watches to unused wallets, medicines, spare shavers and miniature flashlights, it holds the stuff of his personal life.   This I could not touch.  Like part of the essence of his life was in there.  And I could choose not to open it.  Or I could occasionally go in there for something I needed, like a flashlight or small scissors or pocket knife.

Two years later, the top drawer is still mostly as he left it.  I have removed some things along the way, but mostly it’s still his top drawer.  Wallet, watch and all.  I don’t have a reason or big explanation for why it remains his top drawer, it just does.  And for now it’s okay.  Maybe it will always remain so.  I don’t know.  But I am sometimes grateful for the chance to visit him there. Like today.

This is my first post on a brand new blog site.  I have been keeping a journal for two years, so I will most likely go backwards in time for some of my posts, just to pull my experiences from the pages of my book and let them fly.

Whoever finds me here, please feel free to comment and contribute.  I am strengthened every single day by God Himself.  I pray I may help another soul to find that same strength. And to be strengthened by kindred souls.

Blessings.