Can we make any sense of the widowhood season? I ask God to please continue to show me He is with me in this season. Not that He ever leaves me! It’s more like after my morning scripture meditation, and then it’s usually not until evening, I return to understand something more His book has to say.
These days I’m rarely on Facebook. However, I find answers and share my personal experience in a couple of widow groups. This extra support reminds me that everywhere I go, there is a community for this life season.
Someone posted words sent by her counselor, June Wild Schnetler, in one of the groups, which sounded comforting and encouraging.
The words actually are from a poem by Donna Ashworth.
This recent encouragement arrived while I was hanging out too long in the regret lane of having another anniversary go by without Marty this year. This year another June 28 proved itself again, not just to be any other day on my calendar.
I felt confident I went on like it was another day on my calendar: scheduling a heating and air conditioning service call, went to Pilates, and enjoyed a quiet dinner with myself. But the whole day felt off. I felt off-balance.
Can we make any sense of the widowhood season?
Yep, that day was so not right. It took a little longer for me to get back on this path we find ourselves. And I don’t even know where I went!
But then, there was help as I aimlessly scrolled one of my 2 or 3 widows groups. Something helped me shift out of what seemed like stuckness or self-pity. Does this part ever end? Or even lighten up?
The poem was about a loved one talking with us in spirit.
“Take the love you had for me and turn it into gladness,
use the love you had for me to drive away the sadness.”
This line stayed in my analytical mind for a few days. Am I taking the love we had and using it to bring more gladness to my life and others?
Is my sadness where my life now is, held together with the underpinning of the happiness I enjoyed with him?
My love for Marty was over 48 years. Was I using his passion for helping me in this quite often sad time? Well, for sure, that first year for me without him was unbearably wretched. But I did what my counselor said: Every day, get up, dress up and get out.
Now four distant years, I look behind me and see that God indeed is working for my good.
I continue to travel. With COVID travel restrictions easing up earlier this year, I took a flight to New York to visit with my sisters. Most recently, I enjoyed attending a wedding celebration with my son and granddaughters at a lake house.
Right now, I’m planning my annual trip to visit my son and granddaughters.
And dating. Well, it has its ups and downs for me; however, I’m beginning to look at that part with more humor. I mean, why not? I’m looking at it more like it’s part of this season, and indeed, God has a way of lighting the path forward and every which way for me.
Jesus shines His light on my path forward, and I know, ahead it is. Otherwise I end up taking so many side trips. Interesting often times and sometimes, a waste of time.
The poem by Donna Ashworth had another stand out line:
“Make my time on earth count loudly, so I’ve not lived in vain.
Use the love we shared to make more love and not more pain.”
My anniversary will never be another day on the calendar, so I may as well acknowledge it this year: my anniversary date with Marty will always be.
And this year, it would be 52 years. There was sadness and pain.
But as I thought of my pain, I could more fully feel; indeed, my husband lived as if each day was the most important day, every day.
Once I asked him a question that about his love of certain ethnic foods. “How is it that every time we have this meal (I believe it was sushi), you say this is the best sushi I ever tasted?”
He didn’t live in vain. He and I would together challenge ourselves when in any distress in business or life.
Some days, I do better than others by realizing that he would want me to make our shared love count for more than pain now.
Then someone forwarded me a link to a fabulous 2018 TED talk by a young widow, Nora McInerny. A short clip focuses on We don’t “move on” from grief. We move forward with it.
As I consider the timeline of my life, and as McInery says … there is no moving on. However, while each of our paths will be different from other widows, I do move forward each day. And for me, I find more strength.
Yes, I hear from God. If widowhood is going to have any sense to it, I must learn to be still. And when in that stillness, I find that love and bring it more into who I am becoming.