My husband died from the aftereffects of Agent Orange and his years in the military. He fought glioblastoma with every ounce of his being—and mine. The fight gave us seven years together beyond the doctors’ prognoses.
When we humans find ourselves in crisis situations, our bodies respond valiantly. Adrenalin keeps coursing through our systems, helping us smile a little brighter for our loved one, work a little harder, go a little farther than we feel we can possibly go. But when Death claims our loved one, we immediately discover how a helium balloon reacts when it encounters an especially sharp pin.
My support group of friends and family members helped me limp through those early days of widowhood—the nights were mine to face alone. Gradually, I took those first steps on the widows’ journey through loss and grief, hoping (but not certain) to find relief and recovery on the horizon one day. I learned there is no roadmap for this journey, but if I looked, I could find relief stations along the way.
For me, relief came with the Word of God and the guidance of a local non-profit, non-denominational ministry called Christian Mission Inc. I knew I was not alone on my journey, but the mission’s grief recovery program introduced me to fellow travelers. In unison, we asked, “What is next?” “Where do I go now?” “Who am I now?” For answers, we proceeded on our individual journeys, bolstered by the knowledge that our paths had been well trodden before us.
My healing journey continues as I write to comfort and encourage others. I have claimed II Corinthians 2:4, The Message, as my mission. “God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times, so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
A poem I read during this time is my go-to when I have one of those “grief bursts,” which still occur. I hope it encourages you.
You can shed tears that he’s gone.
Or smile because he lived.
You can close your eyes and pray he’ll come back.
Or open your eyes and see all he’s left.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live in the yesterday.
Or be happy for tomorrow because of the yesterdays.
You can remember him and only that he’s gone.
Or cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he would want:
Smile… Open your eyes… Love… And go on.
I find that writing continues to provide clarity and calmness for all the avenues of my life. I’ve had the honor to post “Oh, Lord, Not Again!” on: awidowsmight.org. This organization’s vision is to help widows draw others closer to Christ. More than 40,000 followers receive powerful messages of God’s faithfulness in their inbox each week.