Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Widows Story: Personal Glimpse

This old e-mail I recently found was like looking at a snapshot of my first year as a widow. I thought parts of it would interest you. Since it's personal I changed details of who wrote to me, but my reply is the real thing. Although I left out some book recommendations to shorten it up for you. Oh, and it's obviously on a "good" day. Good days didn't always happen, but eventually they outweighed the bad.

Dear Ferree,
   I have a question about grieving but I don't want it to hurt you. If you don't feel up to answering or even reading this, please delete it now!
   Something awful happened in our church--grief has struck again. A family lost their son in a car accident last week.
   They are strong in the Lord, and this is what I question. Will their strong faith hinder them from grieving? Do you feel it is disloyal to God to grieve for the loss of your husband? I believe your husband is blessed to be in Heaven with Jesus, but you are still dealing with the loss of not having him in your daily life and helping you raise your children. 
   I hope you don't feel guilty for any grief you feel! (I hope I'm making sense and not causing you more pain).
In God's love,
A Pastor's Wife

Dear Pastor's Wife,
What a good question, and it's good to be able to talk honestly about it. I never felt it was disloyal to God to grieve over my husband's death. The challenge continues to be to let the grief out in a healthy ways, so that it's not denied and it doesn't turn to bitterness. What helps me most is to continually give Bruce and my life back to God; to lay it on the altar, so to speak. Not easy, and not something to recommend to the grieving parents, but you could pray God would give them insight into that idea.

You should have seen me the first couple days. I almost became physically ill, didn't sleep at all, lost 5-10 lbs, cried several times daily--great, heaving sobs, not polite little sniffling.

The best advice I received was a few hours after Bruce died. A friend stopped in briefly--didn't even take his coat off, and told me to "Lean into the wind." Those four little words meant so much; they told me to face the grief, open my arms to it, and experience it fully. Thus doing, it's been the most incredible experience of my life. I've never felt such pain before, yet at moments I've never felt so alive either. I cherish every minute. Every breath is sacred.

Everyone handles grief differently, though. I feel my experience has been like this so far because almost every week I meet a stranger who tells me they've been praying for me every day. I can't get over it! I just tell them their prayers are very effective, and "Don't quit!"

What's important to me is that people remember my husband. I can't tell you how desperately I need that. His birthday was Friday and several people sent me "Thinking of you" cards. It was also good when my sis-in-law and brother phoned me almost every day for the first couple weeks. But if it had been anyone else, or more than they, it might have worn me out because I'm an introvert. 

So be sensitive to this grieving family, but do try. Any expression is better than none, no matter how strong they may appear. God bless you in ministering to these dear people, and thanks for listening to me!
love,
Ferree

Has anyone ever asked you if grieving was somehow disloyal to God? Could you relate to any of the ways I said I felt in my letter?
May today be one of those "good" days for you,
ferree

3 comments:

  1. God is good! He knew I needed to read this.Thank-you.Much of what you said could have been written by me.I too am so thankful for the people who really care and show it by a call or a visit.Sometimes I wonder if I will ever have a day without tears.Thanks for opening your heart to me.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  2. I like the comment to "Lean into it". To face it and deal with it. I have recently gotten involved with a Bible study that many of our friends we had as a couple belong to. They are not shy about bringing up my husband and some memory about him. It always makes me feel good...he passed away 16 years ago and his friends still miss him too.

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  3. Dear Ruth & Myra, God blessed me with your comments and the examples of ways He provides fellowship, comfort, and meaning for us through friends. Ruth, I think I can speak for Myra, too, and assure you that soon you will have a day without tears. It'll probably catch you by surprise, but it'll happen--God does make everything beautiful in His time--like you said on your beautiful blog (which everyone should visit).
    Love and peace to you both today.

    ReplyDelete

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