Widowhood timing is all up to God, of course. For me, the widowhood season includes staying connected with friends I’ve made along my way, building a new house, and finding someone who adds an extraordinary, new dimension to my life. I continue to see my faith strengthened in so many ways.
Each of us in the widowhood season has a different path. In the last four years, I’ve learned that my spouse is and will always be in my heart. I discovered three key declarations to help me continue to choose my rather jagged path.
My faith is the most significant influence on me and my actions.
When Marty died unexpectedly, it devastated my life, with us being a couple for almost 50 years. Being with him on his hospital bed, as he was dying, is even more complicated with my dad and mom dying before and after him, within just months.
The fact is, he died. And while I was there to witness him saying to my pastor, “I believe in God, and I believe Jesus Christ was His son…” knowing he is in heaven and I will see him again when I go home, was in no way comforting.
For close to a year, I screamed at God every morning, with words I don’t feel comfortable either writing or that I even thought to say such things.
Still, quite often, I would get God winks and affirmation to keep talking with God through the Holy Spirit. The book of God Winks, is an encouraging one with true stories about how God communicates with us about everyday details of our life.
Perhaps these observations, which I still see, would be an upcoming post as I am on firm ground saying that God is constantly with me once I learned to recognize such signs.
My daily routine to deepen my faith is built around reading scripture each morning and falling asleep to an evening scripture recording. Keep leaning on Him. Keep your faith.
(quote from the Bible app)
Next of importance in navigating my widowhood path is staying connected.
I’m more of an introvert. This in no way means I am shy, but rather, I am my own best battery charger. And charging my energy to be with others has to happen otherwise, someone might think, “how unsociable she is.”
But on occasion, I’ve met a person, who in conversation, I mostly just listen. In the end, the person would declare something like, “it’s so interesting talking with you!”
I knew I had to get out and be around people when Marty died. He was my connection to people as he was a most gregarious extrovert.
What I started to do was find grief groups I could attend in person. Nothing is ever routine in the widowhood season. The first two groups were Christian sponsored, and then a third was at our local Hospice House.
Each group of people is mainly widows and widowers. I realized I wanted to make choices within the group to get out and do things with. Even more so than a couple of couples I stay connected with, by God’s grace, these groups would be where I could speak about the sorrow, the pain, and yet still find the laughter and connections.
With 2/3s of me gone, the parts that included more than half of my life were gone.
My desire to be part of a couple again began with a fun gathering with one couple who still connect with me and invited a recently divorced man and me to a summer weekend holiday cookout. It turned into a couple of more couple activities. As I felt the fun and laughter, I began to consider, do I or don’t I want to date?
I talked with God and Marty and somehow felt an “Okay, try it.”
After two years of dating and several failed relationships over a month and maybe 12 men (I stopped counting), I was ready to quit. It was depressing. Or maybe my hopes were too high. As I opened the latest dating app, I told God, “Okay, this is it for me. It’s now, or I move on from this path and pour my energy into something else You direct me to.”
That’s when I met the man I believe God meant for me to be with, in this season. He is the most gentlemanly man I’ve met. Charles is a business owner, a musician, lived a hippie life, experienced EST training, has a crazy sense of humor, is intelligent, is the most loving and romantic man and talks with me about feelings. He’s also a man of faith in God.
I adore him because of his understanding of so much about me. At one of our lunches together, he started talking about an experience of his, which in turn, took me to want to share a similar experience with my husband. “That reminds me of a time with Marty when…” and I stopped. A thought popped so quickly in my mind I paused. I made a choice to express my view.
In his EST training, he learned a theory that we are always at a choice point. So I made a choice:
I turned to look up from my plate at Charles and asked, “If I talk too much about Marty, would you please, let me know? I’m thinking I shouldn’t be doing that with you.”
He didn’t know how a narcissist I dated when I felt a nudge from a God wink to start meeting men made me feel awful because I was still thinking about my husband.
Charles looked at me with surprise and said with one of his adorable, loving smiles, “My darling, you were with this man for almost 50 years. How could you not talk about experiences with him?”
I’ve decided for me, being a couple is something I love. And it is what is possible if you want it during widowhood when you have faith and act on it.
I’ve gone from wailing and screaming at God for just about the entire first year my life changed forever to learning to trust in Him more than ever. I’m now better at “be here now,” trusting God does have plans for me… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Widowhood timing is all up to God, of course. And, now, because of His promises, I am standing on that firmer ground.